Yukon’s fibre optic line unscathed by wildfire

Yukon's only link to the Internet hasn't been damaged by a fire in British Columbia despite the fire crossing over the line on a 12-kilometre portion of the Alaska Highway.

Yukon’s only link to the Internet hasn’t been damaged by a fire in British Columbia despite the fire crossing over the line on a 12-kilometre portion of the Alaska Highway.

The Beaver Creek fire, which temporarily forced a stretch of the Alaska Highway to be closed on Wednesday, is now on each side of the highway but didn’t damage the fibre-optic line, B.C. fire officials said.

“The fire remained quieter yesterday due to cooler conditions,” said Fort Nelson fire information officer Erin Catherall.

 

RELATED: Watch the video of the fire.

 

It’s not the only fire burning near the Yukon fibre line.

On Wednesday Northwestel issued a news release warning that the Coal River fire, situated 72 kilometres east of Watson Lake, posed a “potential imminent threat” to the territory’s fibre-optic connection. But a short time later the company scaled back the likelihood of such a disruption to being “unlikely.”

While the fibre-optic cable is mostly buried underground, it runs along the surface in areas where workers couldn’t plow through, for example in rivers and creeks.

A damaged fibre-optic line would result in the loss of Internet and cellular service for the entire territory.

On Wednesday a stretch of the Alaska Highway between Fort Nelson and Prophet River was closed. It was re-opened on Thursday. Since then motorists have been escorted by pilot cars.

People should expect delays as the pilot cars only drive one direction at a time, fire officials said.

Latest wildfire reports show 106 active fires in the Yukon.

Wildland firefighters’ top priority fires includes the Coal River fire in northern B.C. Six helicopters and 30 crew members are fighting the blaze.

The fire is over 69,000 hectares, and according to the latest report was burning 3.5 kilometres from the Alaska Highway.

“Fire danger rating lowered around the territory with the recent precipitation and cooler temperature,” said Sarah Murray, spokesperson for Yukon Wildland Fire Management.

Wildland Firefighters are also fighting a 3,000-hectare priority fire near the Fort Selkirk heritage site.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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