Yukon firefighters battle wildfire northwest of Haines Junction

Firefighters from Yukon Wildland Fire Management are battling a fire 40 kilometres northwest of Haines Junction, near the Alaska Highway.

Firefighters from Yukon Wildland Fire Management are battling a fire 40 kilometres northwest of Haines Junction, near the Alaska Highway.

The human-caused fire was first reported May 27 evening prompting an immediate response from the crew and the Haines Junction volunteer fire department.

“The initial burning conditions of this fire were very challenging due to the dry fuels in the area and the gusty winds at the time,” said duty officer Kris Johnson in a news release.

But the firefighters, supported by two helicopters and two air tanker groups, managed to box the fire in, preventing any substantial growth. More firefighters joined the effort Sunday.

The fire was still active May 29. Officials expect crews will have to keep fighting the fire for the rest of the week.

George Maratos, a spokesperson for Yukon Wildland Fire Management, said the officials revised their estimate of the fire’s size to 13 hectares from the initial estimate of 23 hectares.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that the fire has shrunk but it’s a more accurate estimation as sometimes it’s hard to size a fire with all the smoke burning,” he said.

Traffic controls are in place along the Alaska Highway as a safety measure. Motorists should be prepared for possible delays and are advised to check yukon511.ca for the latest road conditions.

Firefighters continued to battle a smaller fire near Lake Laberge Monday. Crews also snuffed out a small fire at Canyon Creek, 29 km northest of Haines Junction.

So far this fire season, 10 fires have burned more than 16 hectares of land. The fire hazard remains extreme over most of the territory.

Contact Yukon News at editor@yukon-news.com

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