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Lightning strikes cause 17 new fires in central, southern Yukon in the last 24 hours

Over 3,386 lightning strikes on July 21 had sparked 17 new forest fires in central and southern Yukon
The Tat’la Mun Lake fire near Carmacks. (Photo courtesy Yukon Protective Services)

Lightning strikes again.

Wildland Fire Management reported, on July 22, 17 new wildfires in the previous 24 hours.

The fires were reported in the evening of July 21 across central and southern Yukon as a result of over 3,386 lightning strikes over the day. In the last three days, 33 lightning-caused fires have been identified.

“We got whacked pretty hard,” said Mike Fancie, fire information officer. “We’d respond to one and then the system would ding again.”

The Lake Laberge area had lightning strike 500 metres from a Fox Creek residence. The 0.1-hectare fire was contained by an initial attack crew with helicopter bucketing support.

The Dawson area, with a moderate to high fire danger rate, saw nine new ignitions. Fire suppression was done at the following fires while the others were assessed.

  • Bell Creek, 15 hectares: an air tanker group worked this fire the evening of July 21 to slow spread;
  • Bonanza Creek Road, 0.1 hectares: an initial attack crew, supported by a water bucket helicopter contained this fire;
  • Dominion Creek 0.3 hectares: an air-tanker group dropped retardant along the fire front to slow its spread; and
  • East Dempster Corner, 0.6 hectares: an initial attack crew and two helicopters held this fire 12-kilometres east of the Dempster Highway junction with the North Klondike Highway.

The fires, excluding Bonanza Creek, are classified as out of control.

“Out of control means not contained, working on being contained or in the wilderness,” said Fancie. “Out of control has meaning in relation to property.”

In Carmacks, fire crews continue to develop and implement structure protection plans for sites near the 725-hectare Tat’la Mun Lake and 1,590-hectare Bear Feed Creek fires.

Highway users may see these fires from the North Klondike and Robert Campbell Highways but the roads are currently not threatened.

The rest of the week’s forecast calls for scattered showers and thundershowers across central and southern Yukon. Fancie said it’s possible more fires may ignite.

“It’s tough to predict, but not out of the question,” said Fancie. “The big question is the likelihood that lightning strikes dry ground.”

Fancie is encouraging Yukoners to check the fire map at to see the locations, size and control status of all the territory’s wildfires.

(John Tonin)