Prescribed burns planned as the 2024 wildfire season continues

Wildland Fire Management hold a fire strategy meeting in July, 2023 (Photo, Yukon Government)

Nine fires extinguished and eight still burning, with at least three more months of summer on the calendar.

Yukon Protective Services has announced a prescribed burn planned in the Watson Lake area, this week.

In a media release on Sunday, Wildland Fire Management said that crews supported by the Watson lake Volunteer Fire Department will remove dry grass near the Watson Lake Airport and the east side of the Liard River beginning as early as Monday, June 10. The airport will remain open during the burn, but the airport loop will be temporarily closed.

The release goes on to describe prescribed burning as a fuel management technique to reduce the risk of wildfire that can only take place during weather conditions that allow for ongoing containment and minimal smoke impacts. If conditions become unsafe, patrolling crews will put out the burn.

Smoke from the burn sites will be visible, but the release said that this was normal.

This prescribed burn announcement comes just one month after a fire prompted the evacuation of Fort Nelson and disabled cell phone network and internet lines in much of the Yukon for 24 hours.

Last week, Wildland Fire Management also announced that it was working with the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun to test conditions for a similar prescribed burn to remove dry grass in the Old Village. The Village of Mayo was one of two Yukon communities to evacuate during last year’s explosive fire season.

So far, nine fires have been extinguished, and eight are still burning in the territory this year. Over 13,000 hectares have burned in the Yukon since the year began.

Last year, nearly 224,000 hectares were burned in wildfires.

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