Wildfire activity is heating up along with the weather in Interior Alaska. The Fairbanks Area State Forestry office responded to two small wildfires today and a coal-seam fire near Healy continued to grow..
The first fire, the Ohio Creek Fire, was reported at about 2:45 p.m. off Standard Creek Road about 20 miles southwest of Fairbanks. Alaska Division of Forestry firefighters in the air and on the ground responded quickly to bring it under control. A helitack squad flew to the scene but could not land due to soggy conditions. Firefighters were able to hike in from the road, however, and put saw line and hose around the fire while the helicopter dropped several 300-gallon buckets of water on the fire from the air (photo by Tasha Shields). The fire was estimated at less than one-half acre and was called contained/controlled at approximately 6:30 p.m. The White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew from Fairbanks was scheduled to spend the night monitoring the fire and searching for hot spots. It was a great catch by Fairbanks Area staff. Good job.
The second fire, the 16 McAdam Fire, was reported just before 4 p.m. near the community of Ferry, about 10 miles northwest of Healy and approximately 13 miles east of the Parks Highway. A detection flight was dispatched to check the fire and found a 5-acre wildfire in a limited suppression area. The fire was not active and did not appear likely to grow, as it was burning in an old fire scar. with an occasional pocket of spruce. The fire was about a half-mile east of the Nenana River. Because the fire was in a limited suppression zone, the potential for spread was not great and there were no structures within a two-mile radius of the fire, no action was taken on the fire.
The 2016 Louise Creek Fire, a coal seam fire approximately 5 miles northeast of Healy, continued to grow with the hot weather. The fire is now estimated at approximately 3,000 acres after a push toward the east today due to windy conditions but still does not pose a threat. It is still contained to old fire scars from previous coal-seam fires and the growth is the result of hot weather and wind. A dozer line on the northeast side of the fire is still holding and the fire is still 2 miles from an old dozer line that was opened up on the west side of the fire closest to Healy and the Parks Highway. The dozer line on the west side could be used for a burnout operation if the fire was to spread west. North/northeast winds are forecast tomorrow, which would help push the fire back on itself.
Meanwhile, down in Tok, a structure fire near downtown Tok just after 5 p.m. threatened to spread into the wildlands and State Forestry firefighters responded with the Tok Fire Department to help contain the fire. A helicopter dropped several loads of water on the area surrounding the structure to prevent it from spreading and firefighters monitored the fire to keep it contained to the structure.