July 17, 6:30 p.m. – Multiple wildfires in Southwest Alaska continue to grow due to windy conditions and lack of rain. A total of 45 fires are burning in the region after days of lightning storms and hot, dry conditions. Alaska Division of Forestry fire managers in McGrath are currently focusing operational efforts to protect cabins, structures and allotments that are threatened from growing fires.
Four BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers are on the ground setting up site protection for the Bureau of Land Management Bear Creek safety shelter located on the Iditarod Trail and the Farewell Remote Automated Weather Station near the Bear Creek Fire. The fire has grown to 550 acres and was reported to be actively burning in black spruce and tundra. The Bear Creek Fire was reported on Thursday approximately 50 miles southeast of McGrath.
The George River Fire continues to grow to 1000+ acres due to the northwest winds and continuous fuels. The fire is approximately 90 miles southwest of McGrath and has a cabin in the vicinity. A squad of the Yukon Type 2 Initial Attack Crew was flown into the area to improve a helicopter landing zone for increased access and to protect structures by setting up water sprinklers on the cabin.
The Doestock Fire approximately 150 miles southwest of McGrath is currently 800+ acres and is spreading to the north due to strong south winds. A McGrath helitack crew responded to a lodge located six miles away from the fire edge and firefighters are presently engaged in site protection operations.Three small fires (Agate Fork 1, 2 and Hook Fork) located 25 miles north of McGrath grew together today for a combined total of 2,800 acres. No cabins or structures are currently threatened but smoke is visible from the community of McGrath and could impact aviation activity if conditions change. The Division of Forestry in McGrath is advising local pilots to stay informed about current smoke impacts and additional firefighting aviation resources in the area.
CONTACT: Public Information Officer, Sarah Saarloos, 907-715-4671, email@example.com