Yukon sets forest fire record for May

Rain and lower temperatures reduced the forest fire risk across much of the Yukon this weekend. Yukon Wildland Fire Management says the fire hazard in most of the territory is now low to moderate.

70 of 93 fires still burning in the territory

A helicopter helps contain a 220-hectare fire 11 km northeast of Dawson City, Yukon. ((Sarah Murray @YukonWildFire))

May was a record month for wildfires in Yukon, says Yukon Wildland Fire Management Information officer George Maratos.

"We had 17 new starts since Friday with three yesterday," says Maratos.

"That brings our total to a historic high of 93 fires in May which is unusual. I mean, we definitely have busy seasons but to have that many fires in May is very unusual."

More than 70 of the 93 fires are still burning.

Maratos says the new fires on the weekend all started by lightning.

Rain and lower temperatures reduced the forest fire risk across much of the Yukon this weekend to low to moderate but the fire hazard in the Carmacks and Watson Lake fire districts remains extreme.

Rain and lower temperatures have brought more Yukon areas into the low to moderate fire risk. (yukonwildfire.gov.yk.ca)

Fire officials did report three new fires yesterday in the Mayo, Carmacks and Beaver Creek districts. All were sparked by lightning. 

Officials say the most notable of the new activity was a one hectare fire burning about 18 kilometres east of Pelly Crossing.

They say a 220 hectare fire, northeast of Dawson City, did not grow over the weekend. It has been more accurately mapped to be 190 hectares in size.

Twenty firefighters, backed by helicopters, airplanes and bulldozers, were battling that fire Sunday.

To report a wildfire in Yukon, call 1-888-798-FIRE (3473).

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