Forest fire near Mayo now top priority for Yukon crews

A 12-hectare fire about 19 kilometres southeast of Mayo has been deemed a priority because of its proximity to the community and the area's dry conditions.

Fire 19 km from community was started by lightning on Wednesday

A forest fire 19 kilometres from Mayo, Yukon, was started May 20 by lightning. Yukon Wildland Fire Management says it has been deemed a firefighting priority. (Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

A forest fire near Mayo, Yukon, that started Wednesday is now the top priority for firefighters in the territory, according to Yukon Wildland Fire Management.

The 12-hectare fire near Francis Lake is about 19 kilometres southeast of Mayo, which has a population of about 400. The fire has been deemed a priority because of its proximity to the community and the area's dry conditions. 

"Obviously, the priority is to limit the growth of that fire and eventually extinguish it," said Fire Information Officer George Maratos.

The fire was started by lightning and was first reported at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Helicopters, air tankers and ground fire crews are fighting it.

It's one of 16 fires currently burning in the territory. Most are in remote areas.

Crews continue to fight the fire near the North Klondike Highway near Dawson City, holding it at 37.5 hectares.

Yukon has now put out a call for more fire crews from outside the territory.

Maratos says it's a proactive measure.

"With the hot conditions expected to continue and lightning in the forecast, [it's] better to have them on the ground and ready to respond immediately than to bring them in while we're already in a situation." 

The additional crews are expected to arrive this weekend.

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