Yukon gearing up for fiery summer

The Yukon could be facing another year of above average forest fire activity. Less snow and milder weather has created drier conditions around the territory.

The Yukon could be facing another year of above average forest fire activity.

Less snow and milder weather has created drier conditions around the territory.

Whether the Yukon experiences as many forest fires as last year depends on the amount of rain that falls in June and the number of lightning strikes during the summer, said fire information officer, George Maratos.

The forecast for May suggests above average temperatures throughout the month. It’s likely the trend could continue into the summer, said Maratos.

Last year the Yukon had a busy fire season, reporting 188 fires that consumed an estimated 283,826 hectares of forest.

Forest fires usually start happening mid-May, said Maratos. Those fires are most often human-caused, he said.

Burning in windy conditions and forgetting to put out campfires are the top reasons forest fires are triggered by humans.

“The big thing is that because it’s drier than usual overall we could see larger fires earlier,” said Maratos.

The territory hasn’t hired any additional firefighting crews, but the wildlife fire management branch is moving its Southern Lakes base station closer to the airport. That will allow crews to attend to forest fires faster, said Maratos.

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com

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