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Ice jam, flood forces home evacuations outside Dawson City

Residents of Rock Creek, just outside Dawson City, were forced from their homes over the weekend when an ice jam on the Klondike River flooded houses in the area.

Residents of Rock Creek, just outside Dawson City, were forced from their homes over the weekend when an ice jam on the Klondike River flooded houses in the area.

About 28 residents fled the area, while one camper had to be rescued from the Klondike River Campground, according to the territorial Emergency Measures Organization.

"By noon on Saturday, some of the residents of the area were asking ... for assistance to be evacuated from their homes," Yukon EMO manager Michael Templeton told reporters on Monday.

"By the end of the day on Saturday, roughly 28 people evacuated voluntarily from the area," he said, adding one dog and a cat had also been taken from their homes.

Floodwaters spilled about 50 centimetres over roads by Friday night. Huge chunks of ice surged over the banks of the Klondike following the ice jam.

The lone camper at the Klondike campground had to wait about five hours to be rescued after trying to drive out. A culvert had washed out, and the man's vehicle was stuck.

The camper was able to scramble out of the back of his vehicle to wait on dry land for rescuers, Dan Baikie of the Klondike EMO told CBC News.

Ice jam broken up by Sunday

By noon Saturday, water levels had risen to almost one metre. But Templeton said the waters began receding when the ice jam started breaking up on Saturday night. The jam was broken up by Sunday.

"The road is still pretty much impassable to cars due to washouts. Local residents with pickup trucks can probably make it down the road," he said.

Some houses are reported to have about one metre of water inside.

Baikie said residents should contact public health officials to have their water wells and septic systems tested.

Yukon Environment Department officials have begun inspecting the Rock Creek area to see if there any oil tanks or septic systems that were damaged by flooding.

Yukon EMO officials will meet with residents in Upper Liard area on Tuesday night to discuss the flood danger there.

They will also meet with the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation in Old Crow on Thursday to discuss similar dangers from the Porcupine River.

Yukon River floods Alaska community

Meanwhile, the Yukon River has begun flooding the Alaska community of Eagle, located about 13 kilometres west of the Alaska-Yukon border.

Alaska state and federal emergency officials were en route to the small community on Monday.

John Borg, a retired postmaster and customs officer in Eagle, said nearly 50 people were forced out of their homes overnight.

"It's plugged up completely about 10 miles down the river and the water seems to be still rising," Borg said.

"The grocery store, Eagle Trading Company, has about a foot of water in it, and the freezer is starting to float around in the aisle. And there doesn't seem to be any indication that the water level's going to come down."

Borg says the worst damage is likely to the old village section of Eagle, as big chunks of ice have probably damaged the buildings.

Borg says a clinic and the community policing office are also underwater.

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