Six new wildfires reported over the weekend

Over the hot and sunny weekend, six new fires were reported across the territory. All were caused by lightning.

Over the hot and sunny weekend, six new fires were reported across the territory. All were caused by lightning.

On Sunday afternoon, Yukon Wildland Fire Management sent two airtankers to a five-hectare fire burning about 35 kilometres north of Lake Laberge. No structures are at risk, but the fire is visible from the lake.

“They’re going to assess the situation this morning, with the downturn in weather, just to see how active the fire is this morning,” said fire information officer George Maratos.

On Saturday, two fires were reported – a 0.1-hectare blaze near Marsh Lake and Michie Mountain that was contained and extinguished, and a 0.75-hectare fire in the Ross River district, about 100 kilometres east of the community near Finlayson Lake.

The Ross River fire has been contained and is being monitored by fire officials.

On Sunday, three new wildfires were reported. In the Dawson City district, a one-hectare fire was discovered at the mouth of the Sixty Mile River on the Stewart River. It’s burning in the wilderness zone.

Another blaze was reported 32 kilometres west of Teslin, near Muska Lake, in the wilderness zone. It’s estimated to be eight hectares in size, and no structures are currently at risk, although the fire is visible in Teslin. Fire officials are assessing the situation this morning.

On Sunday afternoon, a 25-hectare fire was discovered 97 kilometres southeast of Mayo, between Moose and Mist lakes. It’s burning in the wilderness zone as well, but the fire is about 4.5 kilometres from a small lodge.

Sprinkler kits have been set up there as a precaution, said Maratos.

“It was a hot weekend – hot, dry, windy,” he said. “It’s fortunate that we didn’t get any human-caused starts considering the potential.”

Today’s forecast, with rain expected in some parts of the territory, will help cool things down, he said.

A fire reported on June 16 in the Carmacks district is still burning, with a size of about 12,000 hectares. It’s also in the wilderness zone and is being closely monitored.

“If a fire is in Zone 5, which is the wilderness zone, we can let it burn naturally,” Maratos said. “It’s not posing a threat to any structures or people.”

But with a fire that’s in a priority zone, close to a community or structures, wildland fire management would fight it quickly, with airtankers or crews, he said.

Twenty-eight Yukon wildland firefighters were sent to Fort McMurray at the end of May to assist with the large fire burning there. They’ve since returned to the territory.

“Alberta helped us out last year, so it’s always nice to be able to return that favour,” said Maratos, referring to the fire crews that arrived from the province last summer to assist in battling Yukon blazes.

This season, there have been 19 fires in the territory.

As of this morning, the fire danger rating in Ross River and Mayo was extreme.  In Haines Junction, Watson Lake and Teslin, it was high, and in Beaver Creek, Carmacks, Dawson, Old Crow and Whitehorse, the rating was moderate.

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

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