Residents on alert as crews battle large wildfire in northwestern Canada

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A wildfire at Crooked Creek put residents living near Stewart Crossing and Ethel Lake on evacuation alert Tuesday evening. (John Fulton/CBC)
Eighteen people have been flown out of the vicinity of a growing wildfire in central Yukon (northwestern Canada), while other residents are still on alert that they may need to evacuate their homes.

Wildland Fire Management said Wednesday morning that the North Crooked Creek fire, in the Stewart Crossing and Ethel Lake area, had grown rapidly to about 17,702 hectares.

Fire officials say 18 residents near Ethel Lake were flown by helicopter to Mayo on Tuesday evening, while crews installed structure protection at some properties.

No evacuation order had been issued as of Wednesday morning, but residents are under an evacuation alert. It was issued at about 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday, when the fire was 12 kilometres south of Stewart Crossing and had crossed Ethel Lake Road, closing the road at the North Klondike Highway.

“An evacuation alert means, in the event of an evacuation order, you will need to be ready to leave in 2 hours,” Yukon Protective Services stated on social media.

The alert is for residents within a five-kilometre radius around Stewart Crossing, and those within 12 kilometres south-east to Ethel Lake Road, including residences around Ethel Lake.

Officials say the fire, estimated at 17,702 hectares, grew rapidly on Tuesday to the north-northeast. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

Wildland Fire Management says 15 firefighters and three helicopters are now working on the fire, with another seven-person crew working on structure protection.

In a post on social media, Yukon Protective Services says fast growth is anticipated and wind is expected to moved the fire in a northwest direction.

Residents can receive up-to-date road information at 511Yukon.ca and can find updated wildfire information at Yukon.ca/wildfires.

Anyone who self-evacuates before an evacuation order is issued is being asked to register with Emergency Health and Social Services either in person at the office in the Yukon Government Administration Building in Mayo, or by calling 867-332-4588 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Large wildfires in Yukon, northwestern Canada threaten highway, CBC News

Norway: Arctic summer 2019: record heat, dramatic ice loss and raging wildfires, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: 2019 Arctic wildfire season ‘unprecedented’ say experts, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Study on Swedish wildfires shows how to make forests rise from the ashes, Radio Sweden

United States: Drivers describe ‘hellfire’ on Southcentral Alaska highwayAlaska Public Media

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