A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse

Special to the News

All of Whitehorse is conscious of the danger posed by wildfire, especially one that tries to come into town like the Takhini Fire did in 1958. Whitehorse Council has made this one of their top priority issues. A detailed study was made in 2020 to more clearly understand the risk of a ‘wildland/urban interface fire – WUI’ to Whitehorse.

To reduce the risk, the city and territorial government have started to reduce the fire fuel in the area south of the city. To improve the ability to communicate with Whitehorse residents in the event of a WUI, the City has offered the Whitehorse Alert service to those who sign up.

These are all good moves but, for this fire season at least, the public has received very little information on evacuation in case of fire. Our group, the Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse wants to help fill this important gap. We urge Whitehorse residents to take the following steps:

Before the end of May

• Sign up for the City of Whitehorse “Whitehorse Alert” at Whitehorse.ca/emergency. It’s free! By doing this, emergency information about things like fires, evacuation orders, earthquakes can be communicated to you quickly.

• Review your 72-hour kit to make sure its ready (www.getprepared.ca)

• Make a plan for your evacuation if and when it is ordered. Where will you go if heading north or south (authorities will advise details in the event)? How will you communicate with friends and other family members?

• Clean the area around your house for potential fire starters (dead leaves, lumber or firewood close to your house, pine needles in your eavestroughs, etc.)

• For rural residents, if you have one, test your home sprinkler system.

During fire season

• Abide by any “no burn” announcements. Remember all open fires are prohibited within the City of Whitehorse, with the exception of a personal fire pit on your personal property or registered campsite with an appropriate fire pit for the purposes of cooking food. Exceptions may be made through the issuance of a permit; generally, these permits do not allow burning May through October.

• Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full in case you have to evacuate.

• Be prepared to camp or be self sufficient for several days.

• Monitor the ‘fire weather index’ (as shown on the fire risk signs along the highway) and adjust your activities accordingly with respect to potential sources of fire such as cooking fires, smoking, and sparks from combustion engine exhaust.

• Post your evacuation planning on your refrigerator or near the door so all residents know about it.

• In hot dry weather be aware that the fire risk can quickly become extreme. Watch for lightning strikes and smoke in the sky from any nearby fires. Report them!

If you are instructed to evacuate

• Listen for any instructions from city or territorial officials. If you are signed up to Whitehorse Alert, you will receive instructions right on your phone and/or email.

• Move any gas BBQs or other propane, diesel and/or gas appliances and equipment away from the house.

• Remove window shades and curtains – they can catch fire from heat outside.

• Move furniture to the centre of the room, away from windows and doors.

• Shut all windows and doors and lock the door when you leave.

• Keep calm and respectful to others.

• In rural sub-divisions, consider starting your sprinkler systems before you leave.

You are responsible for your own safety – stay alert during fire season.

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse consists of Ione Christiansen, Stuart Clark, Mike Gladish, Sandy Johnson, Bill Klassen, Dave Loeks and Myles Thorp.

Just Posted

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Most Read