How Yukon’s tiny Jewish community is surviving the worst wildfires in a generation

The Crystal Creek fire in the Yukon, pictured here, is one of more than 240 wildfires to burn this summer alone—a new record for the northern territory. (Photo courtesy of Yukon Protective Services)

Rick Karp and his fellow Jewish Yukoners have spent the past week carefully monitoring the ongoing wildfires that are raging through their territory. There have been more than 240 forest fires in the Yukon this year, including 182 burning right now—the most in a generation, and five times more than last year—all because of lighting strikes and abnormally hot weather.

There were evacuation notices and even advisories from the government last week asking people not to travel in or to the Yukon. Major highways have been closed, which also means trucks can’t deliver food on their usual schedules. It’s a significant danger for those choosing to live in the North.

In that time, Karp, the longtime head of the Yukon’s Jewish Cultural Society, has been working on community projects for the territory’s 38 Jews. In addition to building a new website, one of his biggest challenges is getting Whitehorse to host the city’s first-ever Jewish Heritage Month. On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, Karp joins to share his plans to make that happen—and what the future of the Yukon’s small Jewish community looks like.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.