Yukon calls for backup again to fight wildfires

As wildfires starts are picking up again, the territory called for reinforcement for the second time in a month. Fifteen fires started over the weekend. That includes a 105-hectate fire 23 kilometres north of Stewart Crossing that’s currently the top priority for Yukon Wildland Fire Management.

As wildfires starts are picking up again, the territory called for reinforcement for the second time in a month.

Fifteen fires started over the weekend. That includes a 105-hectate fire 23 kilometres north of Stewart Crossing that’s currently the top priority for Yukon Wildland Fire Management.

Two helicopters, two air tankers and 12 firefighters were sent on Saturday to combat the fire. It grew 15 hectares from Saturday until this morning and hasn’t been fully contained yet.

Of the 15 fires, five were in the Dawson area: two near Henderson Corner, two near the Dempster Highway cutoff and one near the Dawson airport. Those fires were kept to spot-size.

On Sunday one firefighter crew and a helicopter were dispatched to a one-hectare fire burning 10 km south of Pelly Crossing.

A fire in the Mayo district was also extinguished on Sunday.

The other fires are burning in the wilderness zone – far enough from any property or community that they don’t require being attacked.

All fires but one were started by lightning. One grass fires was reported on Saturday in the Whitehorse fire district.

“It’s been really good when you think about how many people were out this weekend,” said Yukon Wildland Fire Management spokesperson George Maratos.

But “one is too many, we don’t want to have any starts,” he said.

A month after 64 firefighters from Ontario came to help with the fires, the Yukon has made a second request for 45 firefighters from the Outside. Alberta or British Columbia will most likely be able to answer the call, wildland fire officials said.

Increased fires in the Yukon and Alaska will continue to create smoky conditions throughout the territory, fire officials said.

Smoke could be observed in and out of Whitehorse on Sunday.

Given that there are more than 80 fires burning throughout the territory, any combination of fires could be responsible for these conditions.

There has been 123 fires since the beginning of the fire season.

Meanwhile Alaska is dealing with 197 active fires, 14 of which are deemed critical, as they present a threat to nearby communities.

Some fires are as close as eight miles from communities. A fire burning 80 miles north of Anchorage is not yet fully contained, and it’s destroyed 25 homes and forced the evacuation of some of the smaller communities.

Since the beginning of the fire season, there has been 171 lightning-causes fires and 266 human-caused ones in Alaska, burning an estimated 92,000 hectares. That’s three times the surface of forest that’s burned in the Yukon.

Alaska has had to call for Outside help, too: 1,303 outside personnel came in to assist with the fires, including 40 from Canada.

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

Contact Pierre Chauvin at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read