Smoke rises from the trees as a wildfire blazes near Bear Creek on May 28. The Yukon has asked for Outside help in fighting the fire, which, as of the night of May 28, had grown to 571 hectares and was not under control. (Submitted/Wildland Fire Management)

Yukon requests Outside help to contain Bear Creek wildfire

The human-caused fire is out of control and had reached 571 hectares as of the night of May 28.

The Yukon has requested Outside help in fighting a wildfire north of Haines Junction that’s been steadily spreading since May 25.

In a bulletin May 28, Yukon Wildland Fire Management said that crews from Yukon First Nations Wildfire and “provincial wildland fire agencies across Canada” are expected to arrive in the community later this week to assist with fighting the Bear Creek wildfire, which, as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, had grown to 571 hectares and was not under control.

The blaze, which is believed to be human-caused, is spreading north away from Haines Junction, being stoked by southern winds in from the Alsek Valley. It’s currently not a threat to the community, although two properties immediately to the south of the fire have been issued evacuation alerts.

Twenty wildland fire crew members, bulldozers and four helicopters are currently working on securing the southern base and eastern flank of the fire, with additional aircraft, including two CL-415 air tankers, expected to arrive later this week as well.

“We are confident in the weather forecast’s prediction of winds from the south over the next few days,” incident commander Caleb Tomlinson said in the May 28 bulletin.

“Despite the fire’s spread away from Haines Junction, we have called in extra help in order to ensure that we can contain the fire as quickly as possible.”

The Yukon government, Village of Haines Junction and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations are holding a community town hall from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 29 to discuss the fire.

Meanwhile, both the City of Whitehorse and Kluane National Park have issued fire bans until further notice due to extremely dry conditions.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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