Bolgen Creek Fire between Central and Circle now up to 600 acres

Here's an aerial photo of the Bolgen Creek Fire taken on Saturday by Division of Forestry Air Attack Officer Bruce Smith. The fire grew from 160 acres to 600 acres as of 10 p.m. Saturday.

Here’s an aerial photo of the Bolgen Creek Fire taken on Saturday by Division of Forestry Air Attack Officer Bruce Smith. The fire grew from 160 acres to 600 acres as of 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Bolgen Creek Fire north of Fairbanks between Central and Circle is now estimated at 600 acres and is burning on both sides of the Steese Highway near milepost 148.

The fire is approximately 10 miles east of the community of Circle and no structures are immediately threatened by the fire, which is burning in slash, spruce and tussock tundra about a mile past the Birch Creek bridge. The Steese Highway remains open, though motorists are advised to use caution and keep an eye out for firefighters and firefighting equipment on the road.

More than 50 personnel are currently fighting the fire, including 12 smokejumpers and two hotshot crews from the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service. A state-contracted air retardant tanker is dropping loads of retardant on the fire and a helicopter equipped with a bucket is dropping water on the fire to supplement efforts of ground forces. Crews and aircraft are working to build a saw and retardant line around the fire to control the spread, according to Steve Theisen, Fire Management Officer for the Alaska Fire Service’s Upper Yukon Management Zone .

Two more initial attack crews from the state Division of Forestry are expected to arrive on the fire today and four Type 2 emergency firefighter crews have been ordered for the fire. The Alaska Fire Service is also trying to procure another helicopter for more water drops.

The fire was reported at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday by a private individual who spotted a smoke column on a Federal Aviation Administration camera located in Central. Two loads of smokejumpers initially responded to the fire and four of those smokejumpers were expected to be released Sunday afternoon to be available for initial attack on other fires.

The cause of the fire is undetermined but it is believed to be human caused because there was no lightning in the area. The fire is located in an area that burned in the 2009 Old Bluff Creek Fire.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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