B.C. Firefighters respond to major blazes in Yukon

Five crews of initial attack wildfire fighters from northern BC were sent to assist with major wildfires along one of the territory’s major highways.

The initial attack crews, along with one unit crew, an agency representative, and a dispatcher, were dispatched to the Yukon to work on fires that closed the Northern Klondike Highway.

The Prince George fire centre explained that support for the Yukon is sent from zones with lower fire hazards. No information on dispatched firefighters from Fort St. John or the surrounding region was immediately available.

The centre noted that the initial response crews sent could be a mixture of parattack and helitack teams. 

Crystal Lake and Upper Quill Creek fires, 6,500 hectares combined, according to the Yukon government’s website, are under the BC incident management team’s control. 22 firefighters, 5 pieces of heavy equipment and 3 helicopters are assigned to these fires. 

Crews are applying water to the Crystal Creek fire’s flanks nearest the Northern Klondike highway, which was reopened after being closed to travelers since July 4th. 

The Yukon saw a steep increase in the number of wildfires this year, with just over 846 square kilometres of land scorched so far this summer.

With 166 fires currently burning across the territory, the Yukon government’s Emergency Coordination Centre is asking travellers, tourists, and residents to reconsider their plans to visit the area. 

“This is for their own safety, and for the safety of emergency responders, residents in impacted areas, and the movement of essential supplies and equipment,” the territory said in its advisory.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for parts of central and northern Yukon and Northwest Territories concerning the continuous effects of heavy wildfire smoke in the area. 

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