Huge increase in Chisana River 2 fire

8:45 p.m.– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Release No. 15-07

Contact:  Jim Schwarber, Division of Forestry, (907) 451-2704

 Date: 6/20/2015: 1700

(Tok, AK) – The Chisana River 2 Fire burning in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge is now 28,859 acres in size, an increase of over 11,500 acres in two days. Lightning started this fire on June 9. The fire is burning along the west side of the Chisana River about 16 miles south of the Alaska Highway and 18 miles from the Canadian border. It has burned an area about four miles wide by 12 miles long, and is expected to continue growing due to the extended hot and dry weather conditions.

The active head of the fire is anticipated to reach the King City site south of Edge Creek later Saturday evening, and also may reach Stuver Creek to the west of the fire. There are six firefighters working to protect four cabins that could be threatened by the fire. The two cabins closest to the fire are the King City Cabin and Stuver Creek Cabin. Firefighters have set up sprinklers around the cabins to wet down the area.

The fire is burning in a limited protection area and no suppression efforts taken thus far. Federal land managers have opted to let the fire take its natural course, as fire in the boreal forest of Alaska is an essential process that restores ecosystem health and helps to maintain species diversity.

The Alaska Highway remains open and traffic has not been affected by the fire.

As the protection agency for the area, the state Alaska Division of Forestry office in Tok is working closely with interagency managers from the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs to monitor the fire. A Type 3 Management Team is arriving in Tok Saturday and will transition into managing this incident on Sunday.

For information on the Chisana River 2 Fire, go to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov. For other statewide fire information, visit http://akfireinfo.com or the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website at http://fire.ak.blm.gov.

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