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‘Top-of-mind’ fire burning in Yukon’s Pelly area visible from highway, community

Fire information officer Mike Fancie says proximity to road and residents is concerning
On June 22, Yukon Wildland Fire Management fire information officer Mike Fancie said crews are working to contain an out-of-control fire burning near Pelly Crossing. This photo was posted to social media on June 21. (Yukon Protective Services/Facebook)

An out-of-control fire burning in the Pelly area has been seen from the North Klondike Highway and the community of Pelly Crossing, according to a fire information officer.

Mike Fancie with Yukon Wildland Fire Management told the News by phone June 22 that the Minto Landing fire’s distance of 13 kilometres from the community and 4.5 kilometres from the highway is concerning.

“It’s a fire that is definitely top of mind for us here,” he said.

Fancie said the fire southwest of Pelly Crossing has been assessed at 25.9 hectares. The website shows it is the only new fire reported to his office in the last 24 hours.

“It’s a priority for us because it’s in the full suppression zone, so our goal is — if we can’t put it out — to contain it as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Having done some fairly aggressive airtanker action yesterday, we are making a plan for how to best contain the fire given the landscape and the resources that we have on hand.”

Fancie said the fire was ignited by lightning.

The forecast for the next couple of days suggests “a fair amount of lightning” and the potential formation of a weather feature called an omega block, which Fancie described as an upper-level ridge that is blocked in between to troughs on either side.

He explained that means sustained warmer and drier conditions are likely, which could lead to smouldering fires acting in a more threatening way than under cooler and wetter conditions.

“That could mean increased potential for fire behaviour or increased fire danger in places where fire already exists or in places where lightning has struck the ground,” he said.

The June 21 wildland fire activity report indicates six new lightning-caused fires started over the weekend. The report states a few fires near Dawson required a quick response to put them out, and other fires northwest of Mayo and north of Carmacks were not considered threats to people or property.

As of June 22, a total of 20 fires have burned just under 538 hectares across the territory.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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