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    Experts Say More Could Be Done to Prevent Wildfires in Territory

    A wildfire around Watson Lake occurred in 2015 (Photo courtesy of Yukon Government)

    While fire experts say prescribed burns are one way to thwart the likelihood of wildfires in Yukon, more could be done regarding education and prevention on the issue.

    While the Yukon Government and City of Whitehorse are currently conducting prescribed burns to mitigate the likelihood of local wildfires, wildfire experts say more could be done to create more public knowledge and prevention on the issue.

    Yukon First Nation Wildfire  Multi-Hazard Technician NIck Mauro says with the lack of wildfires that have occurred in southeastern Yukon, the area is especially prone to future wildfires.

    "The Boreal Forest around Yukon and specifically around Whitehorse... hast not burned for quite a long time so there's been quite a bit of what we call fuel loading recently. (That's) where more and more forest  has been made and has fallen onto the forest floor, creating a situation where if a fire does start then it will become a big fire very quickly."

    Yukon First Nations Wildfire CEO Chad Thomas says issuing tenders  earlier such as May, having one authoritative body to issue fire tenders and having a price-driven model for issued tenders as ways that could speed up the process to prevent or battle wildfires in the territory. 

    Thomas says the third-annual Beat the Heat Bootcamp getting underway next Monday is another great way to help find firefighting jobs for people in outlying Yukon communities where employment can sometimes be a challenge. 

    "What we're going to be doing is we're going to be taken candidates that want to be wildland firefighters from all over the community, including Whitehorse, and be training them in a type two wildfire setting. (After the course) they'll be certified a Type Two Wildland Firefighters.  It's a great orientation into wildfire and it's a nine day course.  We have a history of the Umbrella Final Agreements and why First Nations are involved in the Yukon Territory".

    Hiring and training local firefighters in Yukon communities, conducting prescribed burns in rural areas outside of Whitehorse like Haines Junction, and implementing biomass projects in rural communities to help with the restoration of forests are other added benefits of issuing tenders for fire initiatives earlier, Thomas notes.

    Last month was one of the warmest on record in the territory with multiple temperature records broken in Whitehorse and throughout Yukon.

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