North

Yukon forest fire season 'remarkably quiet'

An official says Yukoners may be taking more care with fires because of the devastation in Fort McMurray.

Shock of Fort McMurray fires may be causing Yukoners to take more care, official says

Firefighters work on a fire near Emerald Lake in the Carcross area last summer. There had been five times as many fires at this point in 2015, compared to this year. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

A "remarkably quiet fire season" in Yukon so far this year may be due in part to the Fort McMurray fires, said fire information officer George Maratos.

He says the number of human-caused fires in Yukon is down.

"I think it was just more of an awareness thing, where people saw the devastation [in Fort McMurray] and took the time to put out their campfires, to make sure they were burning responsibly," Maratos said.

So far there have been 35 fires in Yukon this season, burning an estimated 16,137 hectares. Most of those fires have been lightning caused.

Yukon Fire Information Officer George Maratos says the devastation in Fort McMurray may be leading Yukoners to take more care with fires. (CBC)

The 10-year average is 74 fires burning 68,712 hectares by July 13.

Last year was an above-average year for fires in spring and early summer, with 179 fires and 174,000 hectares burned by July 13.

Maratos says the biggest factor is the weather.

"It was hot and dry last May [2015] where we saw 90 fires, and this year we've been getting that perfect balance of where we've been getting two or three days of sunshine and then a lot of precipitation."

Maratos said heavy downpours in southern Yukon on Tuesday night and wet weather in other regions have helped lower the fire risk to "low" everywhere in Yukon except Watson Lake, where it's considered "moderate".

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