Parts of Yukon under high or extreme fire risk heading into weekend, even with forecasted rain

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Smoke from a wildfire near Stewart Crossing, Yukon, in 2019. Many parts of central Yukon are under a moderate to extreme fire danger rating heading into the weekend. (Submitted by Claus Vogel - image credit)
Smoke from a wildfire near Stewart Crossing, Yukon, in 2019. Many parts of central Yukon are under a moderate to extreme fire danger rating heading into the weekend. (Submitted by Claus Vogel - image credit)

While what's forecasted to be a rainy weekend across most of Yukon may temper some of the fire risk, some areas are expected to remain under a moderate to extreme fire danger rating due to potential lightning strikes.

Mike Fancie, a fire information officer with Yukon Wildland Fire Management, said in an interview Friday that central Yukon in particular had seen a relatively hot and dry stretch of weather. That, combined with lightning or human-set fires left unattended or that get out of control, could result in conditions that allow for a wildfire to start and spread.

"My advice for people this weekend is unfortunately, you know, bring a raincoat, but still be super careful with those campfires," he said.

As of Friday afternoon, the Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay areas, Ross River and a stretch from Carmacks up to Keno City were all under an extreme fire danger rating. A swath of the territory including the areas between Whitehorse and Carmacks as well as Whitehorse to Haines Junction were also under high fire danger.

Fancie asked anyone who might be in those areas this weekend to respect any fire bans or warnings in place.

"If there's a place that you shouldn't be starting a fire, there's a reason for that," he said. "And we don't want to have places that are near communities being put at unnecessary risk because of preventable, human-caused fires that were started and left either intentionally smoldering or otherwise."

Overall, though, it's been a quiet start to the fire season, according to Fancie — crews have only responded to four human-caused fires so far, all in the Southern Lakes region. Yukon Protective Services also reported on Friday afternoon that crews in Dawson City were responding to a lightning-caused fire near Kilometre 20 of the Dempster Highway.

Anyone looking for up-to-date fire information in Yukon can visit yukon.ca/wildfires, and wildfires should be reported to the Yukon government's Fire Line at 1-888-798-3473.

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