Dawson City “used to living with risk,” mayor says as nearby wildfire grows

The mayor of Dawson City said people fear a forest fire is burning east of the city, but he is confident authorities are prepared for any scenario.

The Coal Creek fire east of town has escalated in recent days and some surrounding residents are on evacuation alert. As of Thursday night, the lightning fire was estimated to be 7,250 hectares in size and was burning about 5.5 kilometers from Henderson Corner and five kilometers north of the North Klondike Highway.

Dawson City itself is not considered to be at risk.

“We’re still a long way from that,” Mayor Wayne Potoroka said Thursday afternoon.

He said people outside the city who are subject to the evacuation alert should make sure they are ready. He also says residents can rest assured that emergency officials are planning and preparing for anything that might happen.

“It’s a great comfort to me… People are good at what they do and they know what to do when these situations arise,” said Potoroka.

“We know anything can happen. We have seen it in other parts of the country. But everyone is doing exactly what they have to do, ”said Dawson City Mayor Wayne Potoroka. (Submitted by Wayne Potoroka)

“We know anything can happen. We’ve seen it in other parts of the country. But everyone is doing exactly what they need to do to give us the best possible chance of making sure we don’t get a spectacle. horror like other places in the country. “

Fire officials said the fire was “very active” on the northwest and eastern perimeter on Thursday, but had not spread further south closer to Henderson Corner and Rock Creek.

“Rock Creek and Henderson Corner are protected by a combination of sprinkler systems and mobile water cannons. Teams are preparing a cut line north of the Klondike River to remove fuel between the fire and the affected neighborhoods, ”read Thursday night.

Potoroka said it was “powerful” for people to live under an evacuation alert.

“But at the same time, I think the people of the Yukon, in the Klondike in particular, are used to living with risk. Living in the Yukon, in fact, comes with a bit of risk, whether it’s flooding or fires. , as we are all learning this summer, ”he said.

“We cannot leave the animals”

Jennifer Sadlier is the co-owner and operator of the Klondike Valley Creamery, a dairy farm on the banks of the Klondike River. This is one of the properties currently under evacuation alert.

She said Thursday afternoon she could see large plumes of smoke to the east and north. They felt “anxious” on his farm, but planned to stay put to make sure their cows are doing well.

“We cannot leave the animals alone to take care of themselves. And so we will stay here with them,” she said.

“It’s a good group of calm cows.”

Sadlier was convinced his farm would do well even if the fire moved through the area. She said the farm is surrounded by grassy fields with little to burn. Cows can be moved to a structure protected by a fire extinguisher system, she said.

“In the worst case scenario we are going to see it bypass us and the air quality is going to get really bad. So I hope, against all hopes, that this is how it works,” she said. .

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