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Yukon wildfire near Klondike Highway leads to evacuation alert for Stewart Crossing

A rapidly growing wildfire near the Klondike Highway and a separate cluster of fires near Ethel Lake have resulted in an evacuation alert being issued for Stewart Crossing.

The alert means residents should be prepared to leave within two hours if an evacuation is required

A photo of the Crystal Creek fire taken by a driver on the Klondike Highway. The Yukon Protective Services said the highway remains open right now, but urge drivers to monitor Yukon 511 for updates on the situation. (Yukon Protective Services/ Facebook)

A rapidly growing wildfire near the Klondike Highway and a separate cluster of fires near Ethel Lake have resulted in an evacuation alert being issued for Stewart Crossing.

The Yukon Emergency Measures Organization issued an alert Sunday afternoon, extending to anyone within a five-kilometre radius of the community, as well as 12 kilometres southeast to Ethel Lake Road and residences around Ethel Lake.

The rapidly growing wildfire is near Crystal Creek. Smoke can be seen on the Klondike Highway.

In a Facebook post, Yukon Protective Services said the Klondike Highway remains open, but urged drivers to monitor Yukon 511 for updates. 

Wildfires have already led to the closure of the Robert Campbell Highway between Ross River and Watson Lake, Yukon. Additionally, the Alaska Highway into B.C. is closed after a washout destroyed a section of it Friday. 

An evacuation alert means residents in and around Stewart Crossing must be prepared to leave within two hours. 

Residents are encouraged to designate a safe meeting place with all family members, gather essential items and move livestock or pets to a safe area, a territorial government news release said.

Accommodations outside of the at-risk area should also be arranged. 

The Ethel Lake campground was already evacuated Saturday evening due to a six hectare wildfire to its east. 

Wildland Fire crews were on-site, working with RCMP in Yukon, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources staff and volunteer firefighters to notify people and coordinate the evacuation.

The territory is dealing with a high number of lightning-caused fires, which is combined with hot and dry conditions. 

Yukon Protective Services said on Facebook that assistance would be arriving from B.C.

As of Sunday afternoon, there are 82 active fires in the territory, 21 of which started within the last 24 hours. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Carroll

Reporter

Luke Carroll is a journalist with CBC News in Yellowknife who has previously worked in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Luke is originally from Brockville, Ont., and moved to Yellowknife in May 2020. He can be reached at luke.carroll@cbc.ca.

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