YUKON MEN, Discovery Channel. Season Premiere, Stan Zuray.

YUKON MEN Recap: Tanana Citizens Pull Together & Fight Raging Wildfire on Season Premiere; Did They Win?

UPDATED: Will Tanana residents begin to find their way tonight? Check out this week’s preview on TVRuckus!

Last night on Discovery Channel, the YUKON MEN returned for an all-new season. The big question: Would Tanana survive an oncoming wildfire?

At the beginning of the episode, it looked bleak. The residents, even those with fire experience, seemed caught off-guard by the movement of the fire towards Tanana, but that is the frustration with such natural phenomenon: Fire doesn’t often “think” the same way we do.

As the fire raged towards Tanana, residents had to decide whether to stay and fight for their homes or evacuate. Many chose to evacuate, like Courtney Agnes, who opted to take her two young daughters on to safer grounds; cannot blame her. And, in many cases, that is the best option–getting out before it is too late to leave, then putting others in danger when they are obligated to come after you.

But, for others, the choice was to stay and fight the fire. As those who stayed indicated: Tanana is their home, and staying and fighting was the only real option for them. So, many stayed, like James Roberts, Charlie Wright and Stan Zuray, with too much to lose to leave. Plus, they had the skills to make staying the right call.

For example, James Roberts was tasked with the dangerous job of leading a small team men to cut in a fireline, removing a massive strip of 500 trees, to take away the fuel the monster needed to advance. Charlie, with an intimate knowledge of the area, had the job of leading firefighters into the thick forests and into the right positions on the frontlines of the fire. Stan had one of the scarier jobs, starting a huge back-burn, once again to take away fuel the fire needed to continue its march toward Tanana. Very risky, because it could potentially start another fire if it were to get away from the firefighters–as it almost did when the truck almost ran out of water! Fortunately, the water tanker arrived just in time.

Tanana was at a crossroads, with residents protecting their homes and hoping the winds did not change before air support could arrive to begin dousing the disaster from above. It was scary to watch; it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to have been in the midst of it.

But, they won.

The air supply arrived, and the fire did not get their homes, their town. But, of course, there is still disaster all around. There is no doubt the area will be affected for years to come, everything from hunting grounds to drinking water could be tainted. The grounds all around them are just gone, burned away to a char.

Can the residents of Tanana go forward?

We are betting they can. But, stay tuned for this all-new season of YUKON MEN and find out.

YUKON MEN is produced for Discovery Channel by Paper Route where Alan LaGarde and Nick Guettler are Executive Producers. Kyle Wheeler is Executive Producer and Brian Peterson is Coordinating Producer for Discovery Channel.

YUKON MEN airs on Discovery Channel on Friday nights at 10/9c.

Image:  Discovery Channel via Facebook

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