A fire is burning near the Alaska Highway in the Ibex Valley. It was reported at around 5 p.m. on July 8. (Wildland Fire Management Photo)

Crews work on wildfire near the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse

Evacuation alert issued. Heavy machinery on site building fire guards.

Yukon fire crews are working to suppress a fire burning near homes and the Alaska highway in the Ibex Valley.

According to a bulletin from Yukon Wildland Fire Management, its firefighters were joined by the the Whitehorse Fire Department and the Hootalinqua and Ibex Valley departments in responding to the fire which was reported at around 5 p.m. July 8.

The fire is burning near the Alaska Highway approximately 2 kilometres south of the Takhini Bridge

As of 1 a.m. July 9, the fire had grown to 73 hectares in size. The wildland fire bulletin said winds were favourable and didn’t push the fire directly towards the highway and homes. A helicopter and two air tankers began dropping water and retardent on the fire immediately. They were joined by an air tanker from Alaska and two more helicopters.

Overnight, heavy machinery is expected to build fire guards on the north and east edges of the fire. Supression efforts will continue today.

While the fire is not immediately expected to threaten homes or the Alaska Highway, an evacuation alert has been issued. Nearby residents have been notified and structure protection measures such as sprinklers on the roof of homes have been set up in some cases.

Wildland Fire is asking the public for the space necessary for their crews to do the job effectively, noting the hazard posed by vehicles parked alongside roadways near the fire.

(Jim Elliot)