“For May, recent climate model runs suggest Canada will have lower fire severity than normal. While an early start to warm and dry conditions is leaving much of British Columbia prone to fire starts, rainfall is likely in the last half of the month, which will likely result in normal monthly fire severity for the province. The latest climate model runs hint at continued blocking ridges in the eastern Pacific during June, resulting in warm and dry conditions and resulting elevated fire severity indexes in British Columbia and Yukon. This pattern often features the eastern side of the ridge over the Prairies, so western Alberta also appears prone to elevated fire risk, while conditions east of Alberta are likely to have normal values. July’s forecast is similar to June’s forecast, with elevated fire severity indexes expected throughout British Columbia, western Alberta, and southern Yukon. A slight difference exists as the Yukon area depicted covers only the southern part of the territory in July, while in June it extended north near the Arctic coast.”
In recent weeks a wildfire in northern Yukon Territory on the Alaskan border threatened the Rampart House historic site. It occurred at 67 degrees North Latitude, which is about the same distance from the equator as the fires burning in Greenland.
Rampart House was the location of one of the first encounters of traders, missionaries, and police with the native people of the region. The archaeological resources and 21 historic structures are cooperatively owned and managed by the Yukon Government and the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation.
Doug Cote was assigned to the fire and sent us these photos along with this description:
A number of fires threatened the site over the two week period we were there. Once our trigger points were breached we pulled out our fall back ignition plan which went off like text book. Aerial ignition from above and hand ignition on the ground for close to 2km along the base of the slopes above the site. The area should be safe from fires for a good long while now.
There were a number of large fires burning north of the arctic circle in Alaska and Canada’s north west this summer with higher than average temperatures and higher than average amounts of lightning. It would be real interesting to crunch the numbers and see the total burned area and how it compares to previous years and whether there is any evidence of an upwards trend.
Doug Cote with Yukon Wildland Fire Management sent us this photo of smoke columns over the Coal River Fire in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Describing the photo, he said:
Attached is a photo from last week of a 5,000 ha (12,000 acre) burn-off on the Coal River fire in SE Yukon. In the foreground is our ignition backing to the guard. In the background is the natural fire ripping through a ten year old burn. It made a 15 km (9.5 mile) run that day under 100% cloud cover. Pretty impressive.
A dog playing with matches started a fire in a Yukon Territory home last month. The Yukon Fire Marshal’s Office says a house fire in Mount Lorne was started by a dog chewing on a box of “strike anywhere” matches.
No humans or dogs were injured in the fire, which was put out by the other residents before the fire department arrived.
We’re adding this to our series of articles on Animal Arson.