Hot, dry weather sparks fires in Yukon, northern BC

Monday, Yukon firefighters were dispatched to fight a forest fire 20 kilometres from the Liard River Hot Springs in northern BC. Three Yukon Firecat airtankers helped in the effort, which was requested by BC officials.

Monday, Yukon firefighters were dispatched to fight a forest fire 20 kilometres from the Liard River Hot Springs in northern BC.

Three Yukon Firecat airtankers helped in the effort, which was requested by BC officials.

“It’s been such an aggressive attack because of how close the fire is to the Liard Hot Springs,” said Yukon fire information officer George Maratos.

Today, the fire has consumed 500 hectares of forest, up from 80 hectares when the first fire crews were sent to the area.

The fire straddles the Alaska Highway. The road is open, but travel through the area is being restricted. Delays have been as long as three hours, said Watson Lake RCMP on Wednesday.

Fire crews in northern BC and Yukon are on high alert.

“We’re expecting spikes in the number of fires with all this hot, dry weather we’ve been getting,” said Maratos. “If any human-caused fires are started, it could be really disconcerting.”

Lightning has already been spotted in areas of the Yukon this week.

A fire discovered near Reverse Creek on Tuesday afternoon is believed to have started by lightning.

“Crews were out fighting the fire until three o’clock this morning,” said Maratos.

It is the second fire this year to break out in the Mayo area. The fire is reported to be 14 kilometres from the Moose Creek Lodge.

“The ground crews and aircraft did a really good job preventing the fire’s further spread last night and that work will continue today,” said Mayo zone manager Don Hutton. “Our priority is to protect the values in the area, and so far that has been achieved.”

A Whitehorse fire on Tuesday also kept crews busy.

An abandoned bonfire was found near the Whitehorse Copper Belt Mine, but was quickly extinguished.

Currently the fire danger rating is extreme in Dawson, Mayo, Carmacks, Haines Junction and Whitehorse and high in Ross River and Beaver Creek.

Contact Vivian Belik at

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