‘Aggressive’ fire closes down Dempster Highway

Three other fires broke out in Yukon June 19.

The Dempster Highway is closed due to a large lightning-caused fire burning on the east side of the highway, fire officials said June 20.

A patrolling aircraft spotted the blaze June 19 near kilometre 284. The fire is estimated at 600 hectares but expected to grow.

“The highway has been closed by Highway and Public Works staff as a safety measure due to the location of the fire and its aggressive behavior,” said Duty Officer Kris Johnson.

One fire crew, a fire truck and helicopter are working to contain the fire. Crews are working to protect a lone, unoccupied cabin in the area.

Travellers can check yukon511.ca for updates on the Dempster Highway’s status.

This is the one of the four fires to break out in Yukon June 19. Lightning strikes caused three other fires in Northern Tutchone region, bringing the total of active fires in the Yukon to 22. All three fires are burning in the wilderness. The largest of the three is burning near Pleasant Creek, 116 kilometeres east of Mayo. These fires are showing aggressive behavior and are expected to grow, according to the June 20 wildfire activity report

Meanwhile, there is said to be some smoke visible in Dawson City from a larger fire that is burning 75 km southeast of the town. Lightning was also the cause of this now 8,000-hectare fire, by far the largest of the 22 ongoing fires. Fire officials said 14 fires were caused by human activity.

This fire is not currently a threat to Dawson City, according to the report.

Across the border in Alaska, there are currently 71 wildfires burning. These were responsible for the smoky conditions in the Whitehorse area over the weekend.

Depending on wind conditions and fire behaviour, smoky conditions may return to the area over the next few days.

Another fire burning 20 km northwest of Johnsons Crossing was extinguished over the weekend.

Contact Andrew Seal at andrew.seal@yukon-news.com & Sharon Nadeem at sharon.nadeem@yukon-news.com

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