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 email@example.com or (907)356-5511 or cell (907)388-2159.