Prevent and prepare for wildfires

  1. Prevent wildfire
  2. Prepare for an approaching wildfire
  3. Find out when to evacuate during a wildfire
  4. How to safely return to your home after a wildfire
  1. Prevent wildfire

    Wildfires are a natural process in our ecosystem. When they take place away from people, property and resources, they maintain the health and biodiversity of the Boreal forest. However, they can also put lives and property in danger.

    Wildfires in Yukon are common from May to September. On average, human activity causes almost a third of the fires in Yukon. You can help prevent wildfires by taking the following measures.

    Report wildfires

    The sooner we know about a wildfire, the sooner we can take action. If you see a wildfire, call the Wildfire Hotline at 1-888-798-3473 (FIRE).

    Be prepared to report:

    • when you first noticed the fire
    • the size of the fire (campfire, baseball diamond, football field)
    • the colour of the smoke
    • the fire's location in relation to landmarks like:
      • roads
      • lakes
      • rivers
      • creeks
      • highway kilometre posts
    • any information about people or property in immediate danger

    Respect fire bans and restrictions

    The Government of Yukon and municipalities sometimes order fire bans. These regulate the use of open fire when the danger of fire or existing fire activity is unusually high. 

    Check for fire bans and restrictions in your area. These are posted online, on Facebook and Twitter

    Be aware of the current fire danger rating. These are updated daily  around 2 p.m. Fire danger ratings are posted in communities across Yukon and online.

    Open burning requires a burn permit and permission from your local Wildland Fire Management office. It is banned when the fire danger rating is set to moderate, high or extreme.

    How to burn safely

    In campgrounds

    • Only make a fire that is big enough for your needs and never leave it unattended.
    • Use the designated fire pits in Government of Yukon campgrounds.
    • Follow all instructions at the campground for a safe campfire.
    • Before you leave or go to sleep, soak your campfire, stir and repeat until the ashes are cold to the touch.
    • National parks may prohibit campfires. Be sure to follow instructions at the park.

    Outside of campgrounds

    Outside of municipalities, campfires are permitted on Crown land unless there is a fire ban. 

    • Do not build a fire when it’s windy.
    • Build the fire on non-flammable mineral soil at least 3 meters away from flammable vegetation. Remove all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area. 
    • Build a fire pit with a ring of rocks.
    • Keep a bucket with at least 8 litres of water and a shovel nearby to extinguish the fire.
    • Keep the fire small and never leave it unattended. 
    • Extinguish the campfire before leaving by soaking it with water, stirring and repeating until the ashes are cold to the touch. 

    Backyard burning

    • You need a burn permit from your municipality, the Government of Yukon, or both to burn brush. Burn safely by following the conditions of your permit. 
    • Always call your local Wildland Fire Management office before you burn.
    • Don’t burn in windy conditions. Keep the fire in check. Make sure you have a shovel, at least 8 litres of water and fire retardant nearby. 
    • Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold.

    Keep other ignition sources in check

    • Don’t throw smoking materials from vehicles. Always use interior ashtrays.
    • Heat from the exhaust system of motorized vehicles, especially off-road vehicles and dirt bikes, can start fires. Avoid operating any motorized vehicle in tall grass and vegetation when the weather is hot and dry.

    Protect your home and property

    Help prevent wildfires from spreading by using FireSmart practices on your property.

  2. Prepare for an approaching wildfire

    Follow these best practices to keep your family safe in case of an approaching wildfire.

    Prepare your house if a wildfire is approaching

    Take these steps to prepare your home in the case of an approaching wildfire. Only do so if you have time and it is safe.

    Outside your house

    • Report the wildfire. Call the Wildfire Hotline at 1-888-798-3473 (FIRE).
    • Cover vents, windows and other openings of the house with fire-resistant material like 12 mm plywood. This will help keep embers out.
    • Close all doors and windows.
    • Turn off propane and fuels. 
    • Move anything that could catch fire away from the house. This includes firewood, lawn furniture and propane grills.
    • Attach garden hoses to taps and place them so they can reach any exterior surface of the building, including the roof. Place a connected sprinkler on the roof and nail it down. Do not turn it on unless the fire is an immediate hazard.
    • Make outdoor pools or hot tubs accessible to firefighters. Fill garbage cans and buckets with water and leave them where firefighters can use them. Block downspouts and fill rain gutters with water.
    • Prop a ladder against the roof so firefighters have access. 
    • Park your car so it is positioned facing out of the driveway.

    Inside your house

    • Move flammable materials such as light curtains and furniture away from the windows. 
    • Keep lights on to improve visibility if smoke is present.
  3. Find out when to evacuate during a wildfire

    The Government of Yukon will only issue an evacuation order if it is unsafe for you to remain in your home. You can evacuate your home at any time if you feel in danger.

    Officials will use multiple communications methods to let people know if they are affected by an evacuation notice.

    • Monitor the television, radio, onlineFacebook and Twitter for updates.
    • Be ready to evacuate at any time. 
    • If it is safe to do so, and if there is enough water, turn on sprinklers to wet your roof and siding.

    Learn more about what happens during an evacuation.

     

  4. How to safely return to your home after a wildfire

    You can return to your home once the wildfire is contained and authorities have lifted the evacuation order for your area. Monitor local television and radio stations, online government sources, and Yukon Protective Services' Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out when it is safe to return home. 

    When coming home:

    • Look for downed trees, power lines and other hazards. Report any hazards you see to the authorities. 
    • Keep a close eye on children and pets. Hot ashes and smouldering embers can burn feet and paws. Make sure everyone wears gloves, hard-soled shoes, long sleeves and pants. Use buckets of water to extinguish smouldering stumps and vegetation. 
    • Check the roof and exterior areas for embers.
    • Check the house, especially the attic, for hidden burning embers.
    • Continue to check for problem areas for several days.
    • Be aware that residue from items burnt during a fire may pose a health hazard.
    • Secure your property. Remove valuables if you are not staying. Turn off utilities if there is damage to your home.
    • Call your insurance company to report any damage.