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Update: Mayo placed on evacuation alert due to wildfire

Talbot Creek Fire is roughly eight kilometres south of the village.
A Yukon Wildland Fire Management patch pictured on June 9, 2022. (Yukon News file)

Update Aug. 5 10:00 a.m:

The Village of Mayo has been placed on evacuation alert, meaning residents should be prepared to leave on short notice but don’t have to go yet. The evacuation alert includes the village itself and all properties along the Silver Trail between kilometres 35 and 66.

The alert is in response to the Talbot Creek Fire which is currently burning an area of about 140 hectares in size. As of the announcement of the evacuation alert late in the evening on Aug. 4 it was about eight kilometres south of Mayo.

According to a bulletin from Wildland Fire Management, controlled burns were employed overnight to limit the growth of the fire.

Those on evacuation alert are advised to designate a safe place to meet with family members, pack bags with essentials, arrange transport and accomodation and register with Emergency Support Services (ESS) by phoning 867-332-4597

Original story:

Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle mine near Mayo has been at least partially evacuated again due to wildfire risk. The mine had been partially evacuated July 29 due to the proximity of the East McQuesten Fire but most workers were returning to the site by Aug. 1.

According to the Yukon’s Wildland Fire Management branch, the incident commander handling the East McQuesten Fire recommended another evacuation on Aug. 4 and mine management agreed. This was due to an increase in activity by the fire that is currently measured at approximately 5,890 hectares.

Fire information officer Mike Fancie clarified that an evacuation alert but no evacuation order is in place. He said he believes that a skeleton crew remained in place as with the earlier evacuation in order to keep the pumps in the mine’s heap leech system running.

The area near Mayo is not the only part of the Yukon where emergency measures are being taken.

The Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) has declared a state of emergency in response to the fire threat and extremely smoky conditions around Old Crow.

The Yukon’s Wildland Fire Management branch maintains the community is not at risk from wildfires.

The emergency was declared following a community meeting on Aug. 3. The VGG has asked everyone in the community to prepare themselves by packing an evacuation bag with enough essentials for three days that weighs less than 15 pounds.

An Environment Canada special air quality statement warning about the Old Crow smoke was in effect as of the early-morning hours of Aug. 4. It states that high concentrations of particulate matter were expected to persist for at least the next 24 to 48 hours.

Amid the poor air quality Old Crow residents are being advised to limit time outdoors and visit the Darius Elias Community Hall where a clean air centre has been set up with air conditioners and purifiers running. Rides to the hall or Old Crow’s health centre can be obtained by calling 867-966-4665. N95 masks that can protect from the particulate matter in the air are available at the hall.

Also recommended is keeping homes’ windows closed and using the fans above ovens to clear the air in the home.

The VGG notice states that the Yukon government Emergency Measures Organization has sent representatives to the community to assist with the development of emergency plans. The notice also predicts a shift in the winds that could lessen the smoke today.

The notice also confirmed that there have been discussions with Air North and while a scheduled flight did not land due to poor visibility on Aug. 3, this does not mean a plane couldn’t land in the event of a medevac or other emergency situation. It states that the airline confirmed it is prepared to mobilize in the event that an evacuation is required.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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