Wildfire blazes near Yukon’s sole fibre optic line

Despite a fire burning a mere 3.5 kilometres from the only fibre-optic cable linking the Yukon to Outside, the risk of losing Internet and cell service are low, officials said Wednesday.

Despite a fire burning a mere 3.5 kilometres from the only fibre-optic cable linking the Yukon to Outside, the risk of losing Internet and cell service are low, officials said Wednesday.

Around noon, Northwestel issued a news release warning that the fire posed a “potential imminent threat” to the territory’s fibre-optic connection. But a short time later the company scaled back the likelihood of such a disruption to being “unlikely.”

Thirty firefighters and five helicopters are currently battling this fire, Wildland Fire Management spokesperson George Maratos said at a news conference jointly held with Northwestel in the afternoon.

“We’ve had resources on this fire from the initial start,” he said.

Wind is pushing the fire away from the Alaska Highway and the fibre optic line.

Firefighters are working on putting sprinklers on cabins near the fire and are digging fire guards.

Rainy conditions are expected overnight, which should ease the fire conditions, said Maratos.

“I want to reinforce for Yukoners that this information is provided at this time only as a precaution and further information will be provided should the situation change,” said Andrew Anderson, Northwestel’s communications director, during the press conference.

If Yukon’s fibre-optic cable was severed, landline phone services would still continue to work, Anderson said.

An even bigger concern for firefighters is that the smoke created by the fire could impact several roadways, including the Alaska Highway.

While the fibre-optic cable is mostly buried underground, it runs along the surface in areas where workers couldn’t plow through, for example in rivers and creeks.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

City of Whitehorse budgets $30M for infrastructure over four years

‘I think we’re concentrating on the most important things’

Yukon community liaison for MMIWG inquiry fired

Melissa Carlick, the Whitehorse-based community liaison officer for the national Missing and… Continue reading

Yukon man holds no grudge after being attacked by bison

‘The poor guy was only trying to fend off someone who he knew was trying to kill him’

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukon government releases survey on the territory’s liquor laws

Changes could include allowing sale of booze in grocery stores

Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

Bill C-17 passes third reading in House of Commons

The bill, which will repeal controversial amendments made to YESAA by Bill S-6, will now go to Senate

White Pass and Yukon Route musical chugs on without director

The cast and crew of Stonecliff are pushing forward without Conrad Boyce, who went on medical leave

Most Read