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The Yukon sends firefighting resources to N.W.T. and Alberta

Unit crew is among the personnel sent to assist firefighting efforts in the N.W.T.
A Yukon Wildland Fire patch pictured on June 9, 2022. (Yukon News Files)

With no immediate threats to buildings or travel corridors in the Yukon, the territory’s wildland fire management branch is able to send resources to other jurisdictions still in the throes of this severe fire season.

A total of 26 Yukon firefighting personnel have been sent to the Northwest Territories, with crews departing Aug. 24 and 26.

According to wildland fire information officer Mike Fancie, the Yukon resources deployed to the neighbouring territory on Aug. 24 were a 21-person unit crew, one agency representative, a helibase manager and a heavy equipment supervisor. Leaving the Yukon two days after them were a pair of personnel trained to work with airtankers.

The crew that went to the N.W.T. includes both territorial government and Yukon First Nations Wildfire members.

Fancie did not have exact information on where in the N.W.T. the Yukoners were deployed.

The N.W.T. government is reporting a total of 242 active fires in the territory. Among them are the Hay River/K’átł’odeeche/Kakisa that led to the evacuation of Hay River and has burned 417,359 hectares and the North Slave Complex in the area of Yellowknife, the territory’s evacuated capital. The complex of fires is burning an area of almost 284,000 hectares and the most recent update from the N.W.T government suggests a major wind event is expected in the area on Friday.

The fire information officer noted that the Yukon also sent a division supervisor to assist fire response in Alberta.

“They’re essentially a fire line manager. So they’re responsible for coordinating the work that happens along one fairly large segment of a fire line,” Fancie said.

There are currently no wildfires in the Yukon threatening communities, highways or other valuable locations. Fancie said there is potential for smoke rising from some of the remaining fires because of increased temperatures and wind conditions.

“That’s likely to continue being the case over the next few days as we ride out, the gusty winds that are forecast to pass through the territory,” Fancie said.

In the Yukon there are a total of 147 fires burning and 222,787 hectares of land have burned this season.

Although the Yukon is assisting neighbouring jurisdictions with resources, Fancie said there are still plenty of crews in the territory. That will remain the case through at least Sept. 30, which he said is the legal end of the fire season.

Although no transportation routes in the Yukon are being affected by fire, traffic on Highway 37 just south of the British Columbia/Yukon border is being intermittently disrupted by fire. An area where single-lane alternating traffic and pilot cars are in use begins one kilometre south of the border. Drive BC notes that the road is subject to closure on short notice. The Alaska Highway is not affected.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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