Whitehorse Daily Star

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FIRE SEASON HEATING UP – Yukon Wildland Fire Management crews are working on or monitoring several fires in the Klondike region. Photos courtesy of YUKON PROTECTIVE SERVICES

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Blazes have firefighting crews in action

Yukon Wildland Fire Management reported six new blazes over the weekend, most of them in the Klondike region.

By Tim Giilck on June 20, 2022

Yukon Wildland Fire Management reported six new blazes over the weekend, most of them in the Klondike region.

According to spokesperson Haley Ritchie, all were caused by lightning.

“That’s good news in a way,” she told the Star this morning. “None were human-caused.”

Five of the six fires were in the Klondike area. The sixth was in the Watson Lake region in a wilderness area away from people and properties.

Wildland Fire also issued several updates on social media over the weekend about efforts to contain and extinguish the fires.

On Sunday, it posted, “Wildland Fire is responding to a 0.5-hectare fire located 20 kilometres west of Dawson this afternoon. This fire is in our full-response zone.

“Three firefighters, supported by a helicopter, are now on the ground working on getting this lightning-caused fire under control.”

Another fire in the Dawson City gold fields caught the attention of the department as well.

“Two air tankers are responding to a second, 10-hectare fire (DA005) located 35 kilometres southeast of town in the Dawson goldfields.”

Ritchie said the two fires near Dawson also drew attention from Wildand Fire.

She said staff are monitoring a number of other suspected wilderness fires in remote areas as lightning and dry conditions continue.

“We’re confirming those this morning, but they don’t pose any immediate danger and aren’t in our full-response zones,” Ritchie said.

A fire at Swede Creek outside Dawson was being addressed by one ground crew, and a helicopter responded to the fire. A nearby blaze was causing concern as well.

“This fire is in our full response zone but no properties are in imminent danger,” Ritchie said.

The two fires within 25 kilometres of Dawson drew extra attention simply because of their proximity to the town, Ritchie said.

“Wildland Fire continues to monitor the Grand Valley Fire (DA002), which is burning in a wilderness zone and poses no risk to people or property. In these situations, we allow fires to play their natural ecological role in the boreal forest.”

Ritchie thanked the public for the several calls about smoke the department received over the weekend.

The short-term weather forecast is calling for more warm and dry conditions, so the fire danger is certain to escalate.

“If you see smoke or a fire, report it to 1-888-798-FIRE,” Ritchie asked the public.

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