Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold mine has been evacuated due to the East McQueston fire. (Submitted)

Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold mine has been evacuated due to the East McQueston fire. (Submitted)

Update: Employees evacuated from Eagle Gold mine due to wildfire

Blaze estimated at more than 3,500 hectares

Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold mine has been evacuated due to fire.

In a July 29 statement, Yukon Wildland Fire Management said it ordered the evacuation the mine site due to the East McQuesten fire.

“The fire, which is estimated to be over 3,500 hectares in size, has grown beyond the control of the current response, which includes 24 firefighters, an air-tanker group, a helicopter and an incident management team,” the statement, released shortly after 8 p.m. reads. “An evacuation alert remains in place for the Dublin Gulch area, which includes most of South McQuesten Road.”

A statement issued by Victoria Gold the evening of July 30 confirmed that evacuation of all but a few essential personnel from the mine site had been completed on July 29 and 30.

“The safety of our employees is our highest priority. As a result of wildfire activity proximal to Eagle and in consultation with the Yukon Wildland Fire Management team, we made the precautionary decision to evacuate non-essential employees,” Victoria Gold’s CEO John McConnell states in the July 30 update.

“A volunteer contingent of employees remains staged nearby the mine site to operate and maintain critical operational assets. We would like to thank the Yukon Wildland Fire Management for their assistance during this time and their continued efforts to manage and respond to wildfire activity in the territory.”

According to Victoria Gold, the workers who stayed behind will continue to operate heap leach pumping but mining and stacking operations at the mine have been suspended. The July 30 notice also states that Victoria Gold has provided some heavy equipment to assist with the response to the fire.

A number of Wildland Fire resources have been used to manage the fire, ranging from hand ignition, bucketing and air-tanker retardant drops.

Wildland Fire Management said it has been coordinating its response with Victoria Gold.

“Preventative structure protection work has now become the incident’s primary operational focus while mine workers are moved to a safe location,” it’s noted.

The Yukon government will be providing an update on the fire situation at 3 p.m. on July 31.

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