June 12, 2016 – A wildfire burning in a remote part of northwest Alaska has more than doubled in size but was still not posing a threat to any villages in the area.
The Warren Creek Fire is now estimated at approximately 3,500 acres, an increase of more than 2,000 acres but most of the growth was on Saturday and was to the north and west, away from the closest villages of Kobuk and Shungnak. The fire is approximately 5 miles north of Kobuk and 10 miles north of Shungnak.
The BLM Alaska Fire Service has more than 150 personnel battling the blaze, including six different ground crews and several water-scooping aircraft dropping water on the fire.
The fire, which is believed to be human caused, was 10 percent contained as of late Saturday night. The official acreage total was listed at 3,155 acres but that number is probably closer to 3,500 acres after Sunday’s growth. The fire showed minimal growth on Sunday, according to reports.
The fire experienced two wind shifts Saturday night that resulted in blowups that pushed the fire northwest toward Dahl Creek, an old BLM fire station that has several structures and an airstrip, but there was no progression to the south toward the villages and no structures at Dahl Creek were immediately threatened by the change in direction.
The fire received about 30 minutes of light precipitation Saturday night and conditions on Sunday started out as overcast but turned bright and sunny as the day went on. The forecast is for light precipitation Sunday night with cooler, cloudier conditions on Monday.
Four new ground crews arrived Sunday to aid with suppression efforts. The six crews currently working on the fire include the Midnight Sun and Chena interagency hotshot crews from the BLM Alaska Fire Service; the Gannett Glacier and Yukon crews, both of which are Type 2 initial attack crews from the Alaska Division of Forestry; and the Northstar and Pilot Station Type 2 crews from the BLM Alaska Fire Service. In addition, there are still 22 smokejumpers assigned to the fire.
The primary objectives at this point are to prevent the fire from spreading south or east toward villages and Dahl Creek, as well as finding an anchor point for crews on the west flank of the fire.
There is a temporary flight restriction (TFR) in place over the fire and pilots should check the status of the TFR at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.
For more information, contact the Fire Information Office at (907)356-5511.