Fire gains ground, threatens lodge near Gates of the Arctic

July 16, 2016 – A fire burning 25 miles east of Kobuk grew from 1,355 to an estimated 35,000 acres and pushed nine miles in two days thanks to recent record high temperatures, low humidity and winds. The Mauneluk River 2 fire (#386) was spotted by an Alaska Fire Service fire detection aircraft on July 14 after lightning started the fire on state lands in a limited protection area northwest of the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Four BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers are on the ground setting up protection for a lodge at nearby Narvak Lake which is about 1 mile to the southeast of the fire’s current location. On Friday, a west wind pushed the fire through dry fuels in a valley that leads to the lake. The east and southeast portions of the fire pushed by a strong wind burned at a high rate of speed, pushing it toward the lake and another, smaller fire burning a half a mile to the northeast, the Mauneluk River (#385). Today’s cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels helped moderate fire behavior. It was backing to the south with some running and isolated torching on Saturday. AFS BLM fire officials are expecting cooler temperatures and rain to move over the area tonight and tomorrow to aid the smokejumpers in their efforts.

For more information, contact Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS public affairs specialist, at eipsen@blm.gov or (907)356-5511 or cell (907)388-2159.

About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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