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Season’s first wildfire blazes near Deep Creek subdivision

A 0.2 hectare wildfire was contained near Deep Creek subdivision near Whitehorse. The public is reminded to enjoy fires safely, as this time of year the fire dangers are high after the snow melts.
The territory had its first wildfire of the season April 26 near the Deep Creek Subdivision north of Whitehorse. The grass fire was contained by Hootalinqua Fire Department, three wildland firefighters, and an emergency response officer. Yukon Government/submitted.

The season’s first wildfire blazed on April 26. The Government of Yukon Wildland Fire Management branch responded to the fire near the Deep Creek subdivision, north of Whitehorse.

The Hootalinqua Fire Department, three wildland firefighters and an emergency response officer contained the grass fire. The human-caused blaze was 0.2 hectares in size.

Early spring can be a high-risk season for preventable fires, according to Mike Fancie, wildland fire management community engagement officer.

“This is a critical time of year,” said Fancie. “People get a false sense of the fire dangers. Once the snow melts, most ground fuels are still dead and dry from last fall. People will see snow and think there is an absence of fire danger.”

Until new growth comes in, fires can start and spread quickly — even if the fire danger is set to low.

As the weather continues to warm, and people are allowed back into the territory’s campgrounds this weekend, Fancie wanted to remind everyone that all human-caused wildfires are preventable.

“People are going to be excited to get out and about,” said Fancie. “We hope everyone goes out and enjoys the weather and the outdoor spaces.

“If you have a fire, with a permit, only have a fire as big as you need and have the right tools to put it out. That is the most important thing we could do.”

The rules also apply to those camping and building fires on crown land.

“You’re allowed to have a fire on crown land for cooking and warming,” said Fancie. “Never leave it unattended and don’t make it larger than you need.”

Fancie recommended having water on hand to put it out, and make sure the embers are no longer hot when you leave the fire pit.

As it stands, Fancie said there is no prediction about how the summer is shaping up fire-wise — the only way to predict fire behaviour is the weather.

Currently, the concern is about fire escaping, but Fancie said that is normal. The hope is that Yukoners enjoy the outdoors and fire responsibly.

To report a wildfire people can call 1-888-798-FIRE (3473).

Contact John Tonin at