Wildfire season lingers in Yukon amid 'unusual' conditions

Warm and windy conditions have been keeping Yukon firefighters busy, at a time of year when the wildfire season is more typically winding down.

52 active wildfires in territory, with one area under evacuation alert

Smoke from the North Crooked Creek wildfire in central Yukon, on Tuesday. There are currently 52 active wildfire burning in Yukon, most of them in the central territory. (John Fulton/CBC)

Warm and windy conditions have been keeping Yukon firefighters busy, at a time of year when the wildfire season is more typically winding down.

"I would say it's unusual," said Yukon fire information officer Mike Fancie.

Currently, there are 52 active wildfires in Yukon. The most activity is in the Mayo region of central Yukon, where there are 20 active fires.

That region has seen unseasonably high temperatures and some strong winds in recent days. Fancie said that's contributed to the growth of some fires, particularly the North Crooked Creek fire near Stewart Crossing. A wildfire there had grown to about 17,702 hectares by Wednesday morning.

"Were it not necessarily for those gusty winds that caused the initial run in this fire a few days ago, the situation might be dramatically different," Fancie said. 

The Crooked Creek wildfire was estimated to be about 17,702 hectares on Wednesday. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

Some residents and cabin owners in the vicinity of that fire have been under an evacuation alert since Tuesday evening, and some people were voluntarily flown out of the Ethel Lake area by helicopter.

"Everyone who is within the evacuation alert area has been notified by the crew who are working with us," Fancie said. 

"So if things do change, and the situation does need to escalate, we're ready to roll to provide the support that people in Stewart Crossing will expect from the government."

He said smoke was an issue on Wednesday, blowing into the Stewart Crossing area and reducing visibility — though the fire was "still some distance" away from the community and the North Klondike Highway.

Crews continue to work on the fire on Thursday, including building a barrier between the fire and the North Klondike Highway.


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