Dawson City's ice bridge across the Yukon River is now officially open to traffic.
"It's safe to go," said Dawson fire chief Jim Regimbal.
Yukon government officials build and maintain the road each winter, only opening it when the ice is thick enough to easily support large vehicles — for example, a fire truck full of water.
"Once I get that rating, then I'm able to go across with the emergency vehicles and the fire apparatus, to provide the fire safety for people living across on the other side," Regimbal said.
He estimates there are more than 100 people who winter in West Dawson. After the George Black ferry stops running in the fall, West Dawsonites are effectively cut off from the main townsite until the ice bridge opens.
"There's quite a few people and quite a few structures over there that require the fire protection," Regimbal said.
The ice bridge is divided down the middle, with one side open to traffic and the other side closed while crews do maintenance work.