Rain dampens blaze
near Fort Selkirk
On Monday night, seven millimetres of rainfall dampened the nearly 1,300-hectare Mt. Hansen blaze, but the fire is still burning in areas south of Pelly Farms.
It has stopped spreading, but is now nearly three kilometres from Fort Selkirk, a historic ghost town on the mouth of the Pelly River that was abandoned when highways replaced sternwheelers.
“We’re pretty confident it’s not going to reach Fort Selkirk,” said wildland fire management spokesperson Paula Webber on Wednesday.
“There has been no growth on the fire for three days, and it would have to get across the river and that’s not likely to happen.”
Cabins along the river have been evacuated and fire crews have set up sprinklers to protect them and the buildings of Pelly Farms, one of the oldest and largest farms in the territory.
Paddlers in this year’s Yukon River Quest may have a smoky ride through the area during the race.
“We’re not going to close the river, although the riders might come across a little smoke,” said wildland fire information assistant Amanda Keenan on Tuesday.
“We’re not expecting the fire to grow between now and the time (the paddlers) are expected to be in the area — probably Friday morning.”
The fire was discovered after a flurry of smoke spotters called the fire hotline late Thursday.
It’s a holdover lightning fire, or sleeper, from a number of strikes in the area about 10 days ago.
Firecat airtankers were launched out of Whitehorse along with a DC-6 group from Dawson.
And a crew of 50 firefighters was dispatched to the area, but cloud cover prevented them from being flown to the scene by helicopter, so they’ve taken to boats.
Currently the fire danger rating is low to moderate across the territory except for Whitehorse, where it’s moderate, and Ross River, where it’s high.
There have been 35 fires in the Yukon so far this year. (LC)
Shaving cream and toothpaste
to deter drunk driving?
The Yukon government has a new strategy to discourage people from drinking and driving in the territory — give ‘em toiletries.
Under a new initiative, Yukon liquor stores will sell “good host kits” for “unexpected overnight stays,” along with the beer, wine and whiskey, according to a release.
Instead of sending inebriated party guests home to their own toothbrushes and razors, the government hopes the kits will keep them off the roads by giving them the necessary supplies to spend the night with their hosts.
“This convenient kit provides handy solutions for caring hosts who want to make overnight guests feel more comfortable, and make gatherings safe and enjoyable,” said Jim Kenyon, minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corp., in a release.
“The best strategy for responsible hosts is to pre-plan and do all they can to prevent their drinking guests from driving home after a party.”
The kit contains a reusable one-litre water bottle filled with travel-size toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, a disposable razor, shaving cream, hand-sanitizer and pre-moistened wipes.
Yukon’s program is modeled after a similar program in Ontario.
The province’s liquor board and Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada partnered to sell the kits in 2004 and 2005.
The kits are available for $10 a pop at all Yukon liquor stores. (LC)