NEWS
08/27/2018 14:20 EDT | Updated 08/28/2018 23:20 EDT

Northern Lights Swirl Next to Raging Yukon Wildfire

These forces of nature meet to show off their spectacular colours.

Spectacular footage captured in Canada's North last week illustrates how stunning and scary nature can simultaneously be.

Jason Gendron stayed up late on Aug. 21 to capture an incredible timelapse of the northern lights exploding over a wildfire on Windy Arm in Tagish Lake, Yukon.

Gendron, a hobby photographer who lives in Whitehorse, told Global News he pieced together the timelapse from 38 minutes of individual photographs, after he had a hard time capturing a decent photo of the striking scene.

"You're sitting there, there's complete silence, complete darkness and you're watching this unfold in front of your eyes," he told Global, adding that he waited several hours on a nearby mountain for the perfect lighting conditions.

"The feeling is unreal."

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While Gendron's aurora capture is visually breathtaking, people across Western Canada have found the thick smoke hanging overhead to be breathtaking in a more literal sense.

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning in B.C. has been obscuring the skies over Western Canada off and on for the past couple of weeks, leading to almost-constant air quality advisories for huge swaths of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C.

THE CANADIAN PRESS
A man walks between tents at a camp where wildfire firefighters and staff are staying at an outdoor sports field, in Fraser Lake, B.C., on Aug. 22, 2018.

Many of this year's fires have been sparked by an unusual amount of lightning activity, said BC Wildfire Service.

But the agency also says human activity — including campfires, cigarettes, and car accidents — is responsible for starting more than 420 of about 1,950 wildfires in B.C. since April 1.

Despite the cool and damp weather on the weekend, most of the province, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, remains under air quality advisories due to wildfire smoke.

The wildfire service says 2018 has officially become the second-worst wildfire season on record, with 9,450 square kilometres of land burned, behind 2017, when over 12,000 square kilometres were scorched.

With files from The Canadian Press