B.C. firefighters join battle against wildfire south of Dawson City

It’s been a busy fire season in the Klondike and Yukon officials are calling in help.

A team of B.C. firefighters is coming to the Yukon to assist in firefighting efforts against a lightning-caused fire 21 kilometers south of Dawson City. Approximately 32 personel, including 19 firefighters and an incident management team, are on their way to the Yukon.

The fire close to Dawson is a big priority and there is potential for more lightning starts in the region. “That’s a big reason we’re bringing in additional resources, on top of the crews we have in the Yukon that are getting relocated (from other parts of the territory),” said fire information officer George Maratos.

The good news is fire activity is quiet in the rest of the territory so crews can focus on the Klondike region and northern areas, he said.

Currently, two air tanker groups and two helicopters are working on the 164-hectare fire just three kilometers away from the closest building.

“The fire is burning in the full response zone and is a top priority for Yukon Wildland Fire Management given its proximity to a number of values,” said Yukon Duty Officer Kris Johnson.

Residents in the area have been notified and will continue to be updated on the fire that started Wednesday afternoon. Continued efforts by the airtankers and helicopters helped limit the fire growth overnight. Firefighters also conducted a “burn off procedure” that removed fuels in the area to prevent further growth. Eldorado Creek Road was closed during the procedure.

This is one of 13 fires over the last two days in the Klondike region, which has seen heavy lightning. All other fires are currently not posing any threats to nearby areas. Firefighters from other regions in the territory are being relocated to the Klondike for additional support.

Meanwhile, fire officials reopened the Dempster Highway the morning of June 22 at kilometre 284. The earlier “aggressive” fire is currently showing decreased activity but is still estimated at 4,000-hectares. The highway may be closed again depending on how the fire behaves.

“It will typically be open in the morning when fire activity is the quietest and then likely be closed for the remainder of the day,” said Maratos.

Motorists should visit 511yukon.ca for the latest road conditions.

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

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