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An evacuation alert and a fire ban has been issued by the Yukon government as a wildfire burns in the Ibex Valley adjacent to the Alaska Highway.

Yukon Protective Services says the fire in the Ibex Valley was south of the Takhini Bridge, and while it remained out of control on Sunday, light winds were expected to assist crews that were continuing to battle the flames.

Since being first reported at 5 p.m. Saturday, the fire had grown at the last estimate to cover 73 hectares and was highly visible, producing smoke impacting the Ibex Valley and Whitehorse.

Yukon’s Emergency Measures Organization has issued an evacuation alert for the area as a precaution, and structure protection, such as sprinklers, has been set up on many nearby residences as a preventive measure.

The Alaska Highway remains open but travellers are being asked to avoid stopping near the fire in order to allow crews to work unimpeded.

The territorial government said heavy machinery built dozer guards on the north and east parts of the fire overnight, and suppression efforts would continue throughout the day.

Yukon has put a Level 2 fire ban in place for all Yukon fire management districts, which it says is the middle level in its three-tiered fire ban system.

Starting Sunday afternoon, the territory said cooking and warming fires would only be allowed in the provided fire pits and stoves at road-accessible territorial and commercial campgrounds. All other fire use is suspended.

It said it made the move because there is extreme fire danger caused by hot and dry weather and recent fire activity.

It noted that fire use within national parks is managed separately by Parks Canada.

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Regional District of Cariboo have issued evacuation orders this weekend due to wildfires in British Columbia.

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako says the danger posed by the Tsah Creek wildfire has prompted an evacuation order for all properties on either side of Highway 27 in the vicinity of Echo Lake and Bearcub FSR.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed a 12 kilometre stretch of the Highway 27 corridor between Blue Mountain Road and Kenner Road on Saturday night as a precautionary measure after the wildfire breached control lines.

The district, along with the Saik’uz First Nation, has also ordered evacuation for all properties to the south of the Bobtail Connector and Kluskus Forest Service Roads in the vicinity of Finger Lake -- including those accessed off Lavoie Gold Road, Long Lake Road and 6100 Road -- as the Finger Lake wildfire continues to burn out-of-control.

And on Sunday afternoon, the district along with several First Nations issued an evacuation order due to the Parrot Lookout wildfire. The order affected all lands on the north side of Francois Lake accessed off Clairmount Rd between Trout Lake Rd. and the west end of Francois Lake.

Residents of all three areas are being instructed to leave immediately.

The orders follow another one Saturday from Recreation Sites and Trails BC and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. Those cover Kager Lake campsite and Trails and the Boer Mountain trail system and were triggered by the nearby Tintagel wildfire.

That fire is also burning out-of-control, covering 2.5 square kilometres.

In the Cariboo Regional District, emergency alerts were issued due to wildfire risks in the Townsend Creek and Branch Road area, and one of those alerts was upgraded to an evacuation order on Sunday.

The first alert was issued Saturday evening for eight parcels covering about 25 square kilometres due to the Townsend Creek wildfire. On Sunday afternoon, residents of those parcels were ordered to leave.

The blaze was discovered Saturday afternoon and is believed to have been sparked by lightning. It is listed as burning out-of-control and currently covers four square kilometres just east of Margaret Lake.

The Cariboo Regional District also issued an evacuation order Sunday for 10 parcels of land in the Gatcho Lake Area, as well as an evacuation alert for 27 parcels in the Branch Road Area, covering more than 193 square kilometres.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Branch Road wildfire discovered Friday night is burning out-of-control and covers nearly 3.5 square kilometres. The service says a helicopter, three pieces of heavy equipment including a bulldozer, excavator and water tender and other resources are responding.

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