The Division of Forestry responded to a request for assistance from the Yukon Territory on Wednesday by making three retardant drops on a fire near Dawson City.
The State of Alaska has a cross-border “splash and dash” agreement with Canada to provide aerial assistance with wildfire suppression, if resources are available. Tanker 540 and lead plane ASM A4 made the 1-hour flight to Dawson and dropped three loads of retardant around the Bell Creek Fire burning about 12 miles southwest of Dawson. The tanker and lead plane flew back across the border to the Tanacross Tanker Base near Tok to reload and refuel following the first drop and the tanker made two more drops to help buy more time for the Yukoners to get ground forces in place. ASM A4 also served as the lead plane for a Yukon Electra P3 air tanker that was making drops on the fire.
At last report, the Bell Creek Fire was approximately 37 acres. The Yukon Protective Services’ wildland fire management division recorded 17 new wildfires on Wednesday across central and southern Yukon as a result of more than 3,800 lightning strikes. Nine of those new lightning strikes were in the Dawson district. In the last 3 days, a total of 33 new lightning-caused fires have been identified in the Yukon.