The City of Whitehorse is located within and surrounded by heavy boreal forest. The risk of forest fire is high due to a history of fire suppression and relatively little harvest over the past century. The likely effects of climate change exacerbate this risk. Average temperatures in summer and winter have already increased, and increased evapotranspiration is likely.
With 75% of Yukon’s population residing within Whitehorse, wildfire is a potential threat to life and property. Much of the forested area within Whitehorse is between 80 and 120 years old, while significant land areas around city limits have already seen fire activity.
The purpose of the project is to reduce the City’s vulnerability to wildfire. The plan is intended to:
- Reduce the risk of wildfire within the City of Whitehorse.
- Estimate costs and capacity needed to manage wildfire risk.
- Inform forest management planning, park planning, and current work on the Official Community Plan.
- Be consistent with requirements of the Forest Resources Act, City plans, First Nation Final Agreements and Consultation requirements, and other legislation.
- Engage landowners and residents in understanding and undertaking best practices for reducing wildfire risk.
Planning began in spring 2019 and the completion is scheduled for March 2020.
The City has hired TransNorthern Consulting to complete the strategy. The project will apply a standardized risk management methodology, which will consist of five key phases.
- Establishing the Context
- Risk Assessment:
- Risk Identification
- Risk Analysis
- Risk Evaluation
- Risk Reduction Planning
- Implementation Planning
- Final Report
The Risk Identification and Analysis Report has been completed. The focus will now be to understand, assess, and quantify risk, and to identify ways to control and minimize that risk.
Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness
Wildfire remains a risk throughout the summer. Fires outside of designated fire pits are prohibited within the City and are subject to fines. Please report fires by calling 911.
Updates about Yukon wildfires are available from Yukon Protective Services.
FireSmart refers to the ways we can live with wildfire. Learn more about protecting your home from wildfires on our FireSmart page. While you're there, take the quiz to test your FireSmart IQ and complete a home assessment.
Environmental Coordinator, City of Whitehorse