Large forest fire forces highway closure in Northwestern Canada

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A water bomber fighting a forest fire. (Marc-Antoine Mageau/Radio-Canada)
The Robert Campbell Highway in eastern Yukon (territory in Northwestern Canada) has been closed because of an advancing forest fire.

It’s closed north of Watson Lake (southeast Yukon) between kilometre 30 and kilometre 60.

Two people who live in that area have voluntarily relocated elsewhere.

The Poison Lake fire has crossed the Frances River and is moving east toward the highway. It’s grown to 17,000 hectares since it began in July.

The fire is still 40 kilometres northwest of Watson Lake.

Watch this video of the Windy Arm fire at Tagish sent in by Vanesa Renovalez:

Town not threatened for now

Spokesperson Breagha Fraser of the Wildland Fire Management Branch said the town is so far not threatened.

There are 28 fires burning around the territory with about 56,000 hectares burned.

Fraser said the Windy Arm fire about 83 kilometres southeast of Whitehorse is an estimated 90 hectares in size.

It can be seen from the South Klondike Highway and the Conrad campground on the opposite side of the lake. There are no structures or other values there, Fraser said, and it’s not being fought.

There was a small fire in Whitehorse (Yukon capital) at Miles Canyon on Thursday caused by an abandoned campfire, said Fraser. It’s a reminder to properly extinguish fires, she said.

Fire danger ratings remain extreme or high for most of the territory.

With files from Sandi Coleman

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Warming Arctic could be at heart of deadly July heatwave, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s drought ends with violent storms, Yle News

Norway: Arctic Europe’s July records melted under extreme temperatures, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Forest fires are raging across the Barents region, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish opposition draws ten-point plan for crisis preparedness after massive wildfires, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s firefighters are ready for wildfire season, Alaska Public Media

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