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Yukon 'dodging a bullet' when it comes to a major forest fire, says expert

A professor with the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta says Yukon currently has the three ingredients for a major forest fire.

Bad fire year will happen if fuel, weather and ignition factors combine

A fire near Dawson City, Yukon, in 2015. (Andreas Pohle/Yukon Wildland Fire Managment)

An Alberta professor says Yukon's year for a major forest fire will come.

Mike Flannigan, a professor with the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta and the director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire, says Yukon currently has the three ingredients for a major forest fire: fuel, ignition and weather.

Mike Flannigan says the Yukon has been dodging a bullet. (CBC)

"You have lots of fuel except for those 2004 fires," he said.

"Some of the landscape may be still not available to burn but it will be soon. Ignition — some years you have lots of lightning, some years you don't — and then the weather. When that upper ridge parks over the Yukon for seven to 10 days, then fire is fair game.

"The Yukon has been dodging a bullet."

Flannigan said communities should be fire-smarting to reduce the fire risk and give firefighters a better chance of putting wildfires out.

With files from Sandi Coleman

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