Wildfire Bulletin #15
6/11/2009 - 11:00 AM
Lightning Triggers 12 New Fires, Alaska Highway Reopened
Close to 700 positive lightning strikes across Yukon Wednesday afternoon and evening sparked nine new fires in the territory. Seven of the new fires were reported in the Dawson district and two in the Beaver Creek district. In addition, a large fire, which began in Alaska, has now crossed the border into the Yukon. An additional two fires were discovered Thursday morning in the Whitehorse district 20 hectares and 25 hectares in size respectively. Both fires are burning on the north side of the Teslin River, 63 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse in a wilderness zone. Resources are currently working the fire, as there are some cabins within approximately 1.5 kilometres.
The majority of Wednesday’s fires were less than a hectare in size and burning in wilderness zones with no immediate values at risk. Five fires in the Dawson district were actioned by initial attack crews, airtankers and helicopters Wednesday and firefighters were back working the fires this morning.
“This lightning and increased fire activity was predicted and therefore we had the resources in place to deal with them efficiently,” said Yukon Duty Officer Mike Sparks. “Fortunately most of these fires were responded to quickly and kept to a small size.”
Yukon fire officials are anticipating more lightning activity today that will be accompanied by thundershowers and gusty winds.
This morning, a Haines Junction Area Protection Officer is assessing the estimated 1600-hectare Alaskan fire that has now crossed the border into the Yukon. Patrol will also be done on the fires that began in the Beaver Creek district Wednesday. A patrol aircraft will also be flying the Ross River district today to confirm a fire detected by MODIS Satellite.
The Alaska Highway was re-opened Wednesday morning as the area impacted by the large Smith River Fire in northern B.C. received 10 millimeters of rain overnight. Officials are monitoring the highway closely and say delays and reclosure is possible pending the fire’s behavior. The evacuation order is still in effect for the communities of Fireside, Coal River and Muddy River Indian Reserve #1. That fire is now an estimated 30,000 hectares in size. No Yukon resources are on this fire currently.
Demobilization has begun on the lightning caused 202-hectare fire burning 50 km west of Mayo first reported June 2. Daily observation also continues on the 21,600-hectare fire burning 90 km from Dawson City in a wilderness zone.
Meanwhile, the smoke that may presently be visible in parts of the territory including Watson Lake, Mayo, Dawson City, Whitehorse and surrounding areas is the result of large fires (DA01, Smith River), already burning in Yukon and northern B.C. Depending on the wind and fire activity this smoke could be present for the next few days.
Fire officials are reminding the public that an open fire ban remains in effect throughout the territory until further notice. As a result, all open fires, including campfires, the use of fireworks and burning in any landfill or dumpsite is prohibited. Campfires are still permitted in designated campgrounds with approved fire burning devices such as metal-ringed fire pit. Burning is also still allowed with closed cooking utensils such as barbecues and small cook stoves.
This season there have been 31 fires in the territory burning approximately 21, 911 hectares of forest.
For Yukon Wildfire updates, call 1-800-826-4750