June 2, 2016 — People living in central Yukon River villages may see smoke from a new fire burning in the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. The Big Mud Fire, burning 55 miles southwest of Tanana, was discovered yesterday by civilian aircraft. A BLM Alaska Fire Service aircraft responded from Fairbanks and flew over the lightning-caused fire. The fire is estimated to have burned about 300 acres, mostly along a ridgeline north of the Big Mud River. The fire was reported to be slowly burning in an area that was a mixture of black spruce and hardwoods. There is an U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permitted cabin about two miles south of the fire. This cabin doesn’t appear to be threatened as the fire is burning in a more westerly direction due to the winds and the topography. The BLM AFS will continue to monitor the fire with routine flights. Based on future fire activity, the BLM AFS will assess whether the cabin will need to be protected if the fire’s direction and behavior changes, according to Tanana Fire Management Zone officials.
As of yesterday, there have been a total of 14,583.1 acres burned in 206 reported fires statewide. All but 10 of those fires have been deemed human caused. Only two – the Medfra Fire burning in Southwest Alaska and the Porcupine Island Fire on the Kenai Peninsula – were staffed.
For more information, contact Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS public affairs specialist by email at email@example.com or by phone at (907)356-5511 or (907)388-2159.