Campfire ban begins

After extinguishing 10 human-caused forest fires in four weeks, fire officials have banned all open fires across the Yukon. Two thirds of 2009's forest fires have been started by human negligence.

After extinguishing 10 human-caused forest fires in four weeks, fire officials have banned all open fires across the Yukon.

Two thirds of 2009’s forest fires have been started by human negligence.

Marshmallows can still be roasted, provided they’re over an “approved fire burning device” in a designated campground.

Barbeques and small cookstoves should be used “with extreme caution,” say fire officials.

Fireworks are also prohibited.

The Yukon entered the weekend with ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ fire ratings across much of the territory.

Only Watson Lake and Old Crow experienced “moderate” fire danger.

Specially trained units from Alberta were flown in to help Yukon officials deal with the expected rash of new fires.

On Sunday, lower temperatures, high humidities and reduced winds caused fire hazard ratings to plummet.

Fires continue to rage just south of the Yukon border.

A fire 18 kilometres from the Liard River Hot Springs is now 16,500 hectares in size.

On Thursday afternoon, the fire forced the closure of the Alaska Highway between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake. The highway was reopened Friday, with traffic being led through by pilot vehicle, causing up to three hours in delays.

If the fire surged, it could easily force another closure, say officials.

The blaze continues to grow, but BC and Yukon firefighters are busy keeping it clear of the highway.

Sixty people were evacuated from highway communities and housed at the Watson Lake recreation centre.

The evacuees have been allowed to return home, but can expect to be ordered out again at any minute.

Sprinkler crews have been dispatched to protect at-risk structures.

A massive fire continues to burn in a wilderness zone 90 kilometres outside Dawson City.

To date, it has burned a section of forest more than 15,000 hectares in size.

Unless communities start to be threatened, officials intend to leave the fire alone.

On Sunday, fire officials swarmed on two smoldering campfires in Faro and Carcross.

Although “spot-sized,” the fires could easily have threatened nearby communities if left unattended, said officials.

Residents in Watson Lake, Mayo, Whitehorse and Dawson City may start to notice a smoky haze.

The smoke may start to dissipate as milder weather brings fires under control.

Other communities, however, will be able to breathe easier, owing to a blanket ban on burning in landfills or dump sites.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

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