An evacuation alert has been issued for the Dublin Gulch area, northwest of Keno City, Yukon, due to the risk associated with an out-of-control wildfire nearby.
The alert applies to most of the South McQuesten Road. The area is roughly 20 kilometres in radius and includes Victoria Gold’s Eagle mine. It does not include any part of the Silver Trail or McQuesten Lake, or the communities of Keno City or Mayo.
An alert is meant to provide people with time to prepare in case an evacuation order is issued later. People who receive an evacuation order should be ready to leave their properties within two hours of being notified, officials say.
The East McQuesten River fire is burning in a wilderness zone and was about 2,600 hectares in size as of Monday morning. The fire was first reported on Thursday.
“Over the weekend it did grow south, closer to the South McQuesten Road and that’s what triggered this evacuation alert,” said Haley Ritchie, with Yukon Wildland Fire Management.
“So we’re not asking people to leave, but this is the early heads-up that there’s a fire of concern in the area and people should monitor updates just in case it does change to an order.”
Ritchie said along with the Eagle mine, there are several smaller placer mining operations active in the area.
Emergency officials say the fire is receiving a monitored response, meaning they are keeping an eye on it in case it threatens people or infrastructure, but they are not actively fighting it.
An initial attack crew, a wildfire officer and a helicopter are now dedicated to the fire, Ritchie said.
“They’re going to be working on site protection, setting up things like sprinklers on some of the smaller camps. And we’re going to be in the air doing as much assessment as we can, to see if there are opportunities for suppression,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a chess game. We do need to keep some of our resources ready to respond if we have more lightning-caused fires in different areas in the territory.”
An evacuation alert also remains in place for Kilometres 10 to 35 of the Silver Trail, due to a fire burning northeast of Stewart Crossing. That alert was first issued on July 9.
Fire officials said Sunday evening that some parts of Yukon received heavy rain over the weekend, although lightning caused eight new fires in the central and northern regions. Most of those are in the wilderness zone.
Two small fires also started on Sunday in the Rabbit Creek area, about 20 kilometres northeast of Dawson City.
Both fires received a full response, and one was declared under control by Sunday evening. The other was not expected to grow overnight, and firefighters were expected to be working on it again on Monday.
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Smoke from Canadian wildfires forecast to reach Norway, The Associated Press
Russia: New NOAA report finds vast Siberian wildfires linked to Arctic warming, The Associated Press
Sweden: Fire bans in force across large parts of Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Wildfires in Anchorage? Climate change sparks disaster fears, The Associated Press