North

Weekend wildfires burn near Dawson City

Yukon's wildland firefighters were busy fighting nine new forest fires over the weekend, including two that continue to burn near Dawson City.
An aerial view of the wildfire burning near Gold Run Creek, about 45 kilometres southeast of Dawson City, Yukon. The lightning-caused fire was reported over the weekend. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)



Yukon's wildland firefighters were busy fighting nine new forest fires over the weekend, including two that continue to burn near Dawson City.

Crews are working to stop the spread of a 500-hectare forest fire that is burning on the east side of Gold Run Creek, about 45 kilometres southeast of the Klondike town.

The lightning-caused fire is just 600 metres away from a mining camp, according to fire officials.

"We have put sprinkler kits in place to protect the mine. Retardant's been laid to ease the spread of the fire," Yukon fire information officer George Maratos told CBC News on Monday.

"As well, [the] mining operators themselves have used their heavy equipment to create a guard around the camp, and there's direct communication with the camp. So with all those in place, we're confident."

Firefighters are also battling another lighting-caused wildfire that was reported near Henderson Corner, about 15 kilometres south of Dawson City, on Sunday afternoon.

Burning near some homes

Maratos said while that fire is just 0.2 hectares in size, it is burning within sight of some homes.

"We had folks that were reporting the fire from their deck — they were watching the fire — to give you an idea of just how close it was. And that's why it was so imperative that we attacked it quickly and efficiently, and that was the case," he said.

"The air tankers were in the air within 15 minutes of the call, dropping retardant, and thankfully the fire was kept to a small size."

Two more lightning-caused fires were reported in the wilderness near Alder Creek, about 40 kilometres north of Dawson City. Officials say they expect those fires to grow.

The other wildfires that were reported this past weekend include three human-caused fires in the Haines Junction and Ross River areas, as well as two lightning-caused fires in the Mayo district.

Maratos said the weather forecast calls for hot, dry weather in much of Yukon this week, with the possibility of lightning that could start more forest fires.

Yukoners are being urged to be extremely careful and to report any forest fire sightings as soon as possible, he said.

There have been a total of 14 wildfires in Yukon so far this season, burning about 1,600 hectares of forest.

now