Residents of Mayo, Yukon, should prepare for possible wildfire evacuation, gov't says

Mayo residents should be prepared for a possible evacuation due to a threatening wildfire. (Village of Mayo - image credit)
Mayo residents should be prepared for a possible evacuation due to a threatening wildfire. (Village of Mayo - image credit)

Residents of Mayo and Keno City in central Yukon should be prepared for a possible evacuation due to a threatening wildfire.

An evacuation alert was issued for both communities on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. This means that residents should be prepared to leave the community within two hours if an evacuation order is needed.

The evacuation alert covers Village of Mayo, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun C-6 Subdivision, Keno City, Duncan Creek Road, Minto Lake Road and kilometres 28 to 108 on the Silver Trail.

The area is under threat from a new wildfire discovered on Friday called the Roaring Forks fire. The fire was last measured at a size of 100 hectares, and is currently receiving a full response from Wildland Fire Management.

It was 15 kilometres from Mayo at 7 p.m. on Saturday, according to an update from the Government of Yukon.

Hot, dry conditions 

Roaring Lake is the third fire of note in the Mayo region — wildfire crews are also continuing to fight the Wrong Lake fire and the Haldane Lake fire.

Haley Ritchie, a fire information officer with the territorial government, said hot and dry conditions in the area are causing new starts and complicating efforts to address existing fires.

The Roaring Lake fire was reported minutes after it began, when a Mayo resident witnessed a lightning strike.

A map showing the area currently under evacuation alert.
A map showing the area currently under evacuation alert.

A map showing the area covered by the evacuation alert. (Yukon Emergency Measures Organization)

"By the time our helicopter aircraft were able to arrive less than 20 minutes later, it had already grown to 100 hectares in size," said Ritchie. "So that's a decent fire and really demonstrates what conditions are like now and how quickly a fire can grow in dry spruce and heavy timber."

Ritchie said smoke led to poor visibility and prevented an air tanker response. Instead, crews have focused on pre-emptive burning to draw the fire away from Minto Lake road.

"Those operations were successful and work will continue today on that goal," she said.

Evacuation plan

If an evacuation order is issued for the Mayo area, the rally point for residents will be Dawson City, the Yukon Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) said.

To prepare for a possible evacuation, residents should designate a family meeting place, move livestock or pets to a safe area, and make plans for transportation and possible accommodations.

They should also gather important papers such as passports and birth certificates, as well as medications and other immediate necessities.

While the road between Steward Crossing and Pelly Crossing is closed due to the Wrong Lake fire, pilot cars are continuing to guide vehicles through as conditions permit.

"The plan is to use the road in the event of an evacuation," said Carla Bohman, a spokesperson with EMO. "However, we are looking at alternate options as a contingency if the road is compromised."

Updates can be found at the website for the Yukon Emergency Management Organization.