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Yukon asks for help as forest fire starts far surpass all of last year

Yukon is asking other jurisdictions to send about 45 firefighters to the territory.

Spokesperson says territory asking for about additional 45 firefighters

A forest fire about 23 kilometres north of Stewart Crossing, Yukon, is being fought from the air and on the ground. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

Yukon's Wildland Fire Management agency is asking for outside help after almost a dozen new fire starts on Sunday.

That brings the total burning to about 80 fires.

George Maratos, spokeperson for Yukon Wildland Fire Management, says there have already been 123 forest fires in Yukon this season.

That's compared to 32 forest fires during all of last year.

George Maratos with Yukon Wildland Fire Management says the territory is asking other juridictions for help as the number of burning fires continues to grow. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)
"With that, we've put in a request for additional support from outside the territory so we're hoping to receive more initial attack crews — so that would be about 45 firefighters from a neighbouring province if they're able to provide that support," Maratos says.

He says damper conditions in the Whitehorse area have lessened the risk and frequency of fire starts there, but the weather has been drier in central and northern Yukon.

All of the new fires on Sunday started in the Dawson, Carmacks and Mayo districts. 

Maratos says the most notable is burning 23 kilometres north of Stewart Crossing. It began on Saturday afternoon and is being fought both on the ground and from the air by helicopters and air tankers.

In the Dawson district lightning set off two fires near Henderson Corner, two near the intersection of the North Klondike Highway and the Dempster Highway and one near the Dawson City airport.

Maratos says all five were quickly contained.

He says fires in Yukon and Alaska are responsible for the hazy, smoky skies over much of the territory.

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