Heat wave stokes wildfires

Firefighters are tackling three wildfires: one close to Michie Lake near Whitehorse, another near Mayo and a third near Watson Lake. Homes and cabins are 10.5 km away from the fire near Whitehorse.

Firefighters are tackling three wildfires: one close to Michie Lake near Whitehorse, another near Mayo and a third near Watson Lake.

Homes and cabins are 10.5 km away from the fire near Whitehorse, said George Maratos, a spokesperson for Wildland Fire Management. There’s a large pond between the fire and the properties and winds are blowing the fire away from the residences. The fire has burned approximately 120 hectares.

“It’s quite visible, but it’s a safe distance,” he said. The department has decided to let that fire naturally burn, since it is not near any properties.

Rain forecast for tomorrow and Friday should also help quench the fires, he added. No evacuations have been ordered, but burning permits are suspended in the territory as the department flags a moderate to high fire risk in all the communities. That includes Beaver Creek, Carmacks, Dawson, Haines Junction, Mayo, Old Crow, Ross River, Teslin, Watson Lake and Whitehorse.

The Mayo fire, measuring less than a hectare, has been burning since Monday on the east side of the North Klondike Highway, south of Stewart Crossing. It is expected to be extinguished today, said Maratos.

Another fire, burning near Watson Lake, is being closely monitored. Sprinkler kits were placed near two cabins, one of which is located four kilometres from the fire. The blaze is approximately one hectare in size. The kits will be activated if necessary, but the fire doesn’t look like it is moving towards any properties, said Maratos.

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