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Extremely dry conditions as crews fight wildfire near Haines Junction

Crews continue to work a 13-hectare blaze about 40 kilometres northwest of Haines Junction. The risk of wildfire is now considered 'extreme' in many parts of the territory.

Officials say blaze first reported Saturday evening is now about 13 hectares in size

An air tanker works a forest fire northwest of Haines Junction near the Alaska Highway on the weekend. On Monday, officials estimated the fire to be about 13 hectares in size. (Submitted by: Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

Firefighters in Yukon continue to battle a wildfire 40 kilometres northwest of Haines Junction, near the Alaska Highway.

Officials with Yukon Wildland Fire Management said on Sunday the fire was human-caused, and about 23 hectares in size. On Monday, they were better able to map the fire at 13 hectares.  

"The initial burning conditions of this fire were very challenging due to the dry fuels in the area," said Kris Johnson, Yukon duty officer, in a news release.

Johnson said crews responded immediately to the blaze after it was reported on Saturday evening due to the fire's close proximity to the highway and community.

Fire crews are expecting to continue working the fire in the coming days, until it is fully contained. (Submitted by Yukon Wildland Fire Management)

Two helicopters and both air tanker groups are assisting in fighting the fire.

As of Sunday evening, the fire was reported as active but not growing. Fire crews are expecting to continue working the fire this week until it is fully contained.

Two other, smaller fires were also reported over the weekend — one in the Kluane region and one in the Southern Lakes region. That brings the number of forest fires in the territory this year to 10.

Officials also say dry conditions across the territory mean there's at least a "moderate" risk of wildfire in all regions, and an "extreme" risk in most, including Haines Junction, Burwash, Whitehorse, Braeburn, Stewart Crossing, Watson Lake and the Tatchun region (Carmacks, Faro and Ross River).

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