Partial evacuation of Minto mine as wildfire grows

Partial evacuation of Minto mine as wildfire grows

04 June 2010

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Canada — About 40 workers are being evacuated from the Minto copper mine in central Yukon, due to a large forest fire that grew significantly late Thursday.

The wildfire near Minto Landing, less than 10 kilometres east of Capstone Copper Corp.’s mine site, has grown to about 3,400 hectares since it was reported on Sunday, according to wildland fire officials.

Wildland fire information officer George Maratos said the forest fire grew along the northwest side, along the Yukon River, on Thursday evening.

“Due to the current fire situation, officials at the Minto mine are planning to implement an evacuation plan for approximately 40 employees of the mine,” Maratos told CBC News on Friday.

“The evacuation is a precautionary measure, and it’s being done for those staff with respiratory problems that may be impacted by the increased smoke in the area from the fire.”

Fire crews continue to reinforce structural protection on buildings and other valuables in the area, Maratos said.

Fifteen firefighters were assigned to the fire on Thursday, along with four fire behaviour specialists from Alberta and a liaison officer from the Yukon government’s Wildland Fire Management Branch.
Fire ban partially lifted

Meanwhile, wildfire officials lifted its fire ban in the southern part of the territory on Friday afternoon, thanks to cooler temperatures and rainfall in those areas.

That means residents in the Watson Lake, Teslin, Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Ross River fire districts can have campfires and other open fires again. A separate municipal fire ban was lifted in Whitehorse on Thursday.

The fire ban still applies in the Dawson, Old Crow, Carmacks, Mayo, and Beaver Creek districts.

Fire officials are still asking all Yukoners to start fires only if it’s absolutely necessary, even if they are in the areas where the fire ban is no longer in effect.

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