Department of Community Services

Glossary of Fire Related Terms


  • Air Tanker - A fixed-wing aircraft that discharges fire retardant chemicals to limit fire spread.
  • Bird-dog - Aircraft carrying the air attack officer directing fire bombing action on a fire.
  • Burn off - To remove all unburned fuel within a fire guard.
  • Cold Trailing - To determine whether a fire is still smouldering by careful inspection with an infra-red scanner or feeling by hand.
  • Contained - Fire spread minimized under prevailing conditions.
  • Dry Lightning - Lightning storm with no precipitation.
  • Fire Detection, Types
    • Aerial - Patrol planes fly spotting missions when the fire hazard is high.
    • Lookouts - Staffed by people hired seasonally. There are nine lookouts located throughout the territory.
    • Public - Approximately half of the Yukon's fires are reported by the public via the wildfire reporting line:1-888-798-FIRE (3473).
  • Fire Line - The part of a control line that is manually or mechanically prepared for the purpose of controlling a forest fire. In a wider sense, the working area around a fire.
  • Fire Retardant - Any substance except plain water that by chemical or physical action reduces the flammability of fuels or slows their rate of combustion.
  • Heli-Bucket- A container that can be filled at a lake by helicopter and then tipped to dump water on a fire.
  • Initial Attack - The action taken by resources which are the first to arrive at an incident.
  • Interface - The line, area or zone where structures and other human development meets with undeveloped wildland or unmodified vegetative fuels.
  • Lightning Locator System - A system of remote lightning sensors that relay information to a central computer to plot locations of lightning strikes. The system has been in use since 1982 and is linked to a similar system in Alaska.
  • Mop-Up - Making an area safe again after the fire is brought under control. This includes extinguishing or removing burning material along the fire line.
  • Out of Control - A wildfire not responding to any suppressive action.
  • Prescribed Burn- A method of getting rid of unwanted foliage from grazing areas, renewing grassy areas in the spring and also to protect communities where there is a build-up of forest litter and dead fall.
  • Spot Fires - A fire started outside the perimeter of the main fire by sparks and embers carried on the wind.
  • Under Control - Sufficient suppression action has been taken to ensure no further spread of the fire.
  • Weather Station - A weather data collection and forecasting facility (including personnel) which can be used within the incident area.
  • Wildfire - An unplanned fire, as opposed to a prescribed burn. May be a forest fire, or a fire burning in grass, brush or tundra.

To Report Wildfires Call: 1-888-798-FIRE (3473)

Fire Danger Ratings