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. They maintain the health and biodiversity of a forest, but they can put lives and property in danger.

    Wildfires in Yukon are common from May to September. 

    Human activity causes almost half of the fires in Yukon. You can help prevent wildfires by taking the following measures.

    Report wildfires

    1. Call the Fire Line at 1-888-798-3473 (FIRE).
    2. Give the location of the fire in relation to roads, lakes, creeks or highway markers.
    3. Report if there are any people or properties in immediate danger.

    Follow fire bans and restrictions

    The Government of Yukon and municipalities set fire bans and restrictions. These regulate the use of open fire. 

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

    Be aware or the current fire danger rating. These are posted in communities and updated daily online. Open burning is banned when the danger rating is set to moderate or higher.

    Make sure your campfire is safe

    In campgrounds

    • 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 the City of Whitehorse, 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 of at least 8 litres of water nearby and a shovel 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. 

    Make sure your backyard burning is safe

    • You will need a permit to burn brush outside of Whitehorse. Burn safely by following the conditions of your permit. 
    • 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 can start fires, especially with off road vehicles and dirt bikes. 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 fire. Call 1-888-798-3473 (FIRE).
    • Cover vents, windows and other openings of the house with fire-resistant material, such as 12 mm plywood. This will help keep sparks and embers out.
    • Keep all doors and windows closed.
    • Turn off propane and fuels. 
    • Move combustibles away from the house. This includes firewood, lawn furniture and propane grills.
    • Attach garden hoses to tap spigots 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 combustible materials such as light curtains and furniture away from the windows. 
    • Keep lights on to aid with visibility if smoke is present.
  3. Find out when to evacuate during a wildfire

    Officials 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.

    • Monitor the television, radio, online and social media for updates.
    • Be ready to evacuate at any time. 
    • Turn on sprinklers to wet your roof and siding if there is enough water available.
  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. Monitor local television and radio stations, the emergency update page,  Facebook and Twitter to find out when it is safe to return home. 

    • Look for downed trees, power lines and other hazards on the road. 
    • Keep a close eye on children and pets. Hot ashes and smoldering embers can burn feet and paws. Make sure everyone wears gloves, hard-soled shoes and long sleeves and pants. Use buckets of water to extinguish smoldering stumps and vegetation. 
    • Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks and embers.
    • Check the attic and throughout the house for hidden burning sparks and 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.