A fire near the Robert Cambell Highway has prompted the Yukon government to issue an evacuation alert for those in the area of kilometre 30 to 58. The alert means people should be prepared to leave within two hours of an evacuation order being issued. (Yukon Protective Services/Facebook)

Fire near Robert Campbell Highway prompts evacuation alert

The alert means people should be prepared to leave within two hours of an evacuation order

Yukon’s Emergency Measures Organization has issued an evacuation alert for those in the area of kilometre 30 to 58 of the Robert Campbell Highway because of a growing forest fire.

The alert, issued July 9, means that people must be ready to evacuate within two hours of being notified.

A fire 40 km northwest of Watson Lake had reached the west side of Frances River. If it crosses, it could affect the Robert Campbell Hwy., Yukon Protective Services reported July 10.

The fire is not contained yet, Yukon Protective Services spokesperson Amanda Couch said. The department estimates there are “less than 15 people” in the area where the alert has been issued, she said.

The fire has grown, according to the government alert. As of July 10 it was an estimated 6,500 ha. It is expected to continue moving northeast, away from Watson Lake.

Thirty firefighters, five helicopters and support staff are working to suppress the fire, according to the government.

Fire crews have gone door-to-door to let people know about the alert and will do the same thing if an evacuation is ordered, Couch said.

Preparing for an evacuation includes designating a safe meeting place, gathering essential items such as medication, eye glasses, valuable papers, moving livestock or pets to a safe area and arranging transportation and accommodations for if an evacuation order is made, according to the alert.

The government is encouraging people to “proactively relocate prior to the fire directly affecting their location.” If they choose to leave people are being asked to notify Emergency Health and Social Services at 867-536-2232.

According to the government’s alert, smoke in the area may be visible from Watson Lake. Travel on the Robert Campbell Highway may be affected in the coming days.

More than 10,000 ha are currently burning in the Watson Lake fire district. Therer are currently 10 active fires across the Yukon burning more than 17,000 ha.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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