BLM AFS monitoring late season fire in the Northwest Arctic

Oct. 15, 2016 – The BLM Alaska Fire Service is monitoring a 350-acre fire that is burning five miles northeast of Noorvik in the Northwest Arctic. The Melvin Cannel fire was reported to the BLM AFS Galena Protection Zone on Wednesday, Oct. 12. It is not threatening any known sites of value and has several sloughs and lakes between the fire perimeter and Noorvik, a village of about 700 people. The Galena Zone Fire Management Officer flew over the fire on Saturday and observed a couple of spots of smoke coming from inside the perimeter in the southwest corner of the burned area. The potential that the fire will spread is low. The fire has burned a combination of black spruce trees and tundra on Native corporation land near the Kobuk River. There is no snow present or forecasted for this area in the immediate future. Temperatures have been dipping into the teens and 20s at night, but the weather was sunny and clear on Saturday. Winds were 3-5 miles per hour out of the northeast, but aren’t suspected of being strong enough to aid in spreading the fire. Due to the low probability that the fire will grow much or cause a concern, Galena Zone personnel have asked other aviation resources in the region, such as commercial air services, to monitor the fire during regular flights through the area. The fire is believed to be human-caused, however, the specifics of how it started have yet to be determined.

Wildland fire officials urge people to use caution when participating in any activity that could ignite a wildfire while dry conditions persist. Due to lack of snow cover, dead and dry fuels still pose a risk to the likelihood that fires will ignite and spread. Alaska Division of Forestry fire officials have asked people not to burn in the Interior and Southcentral regions due to dry conditions and gusty winds. If you live outside these areas, please take into consideration the dry fuels and never leave a fire unattended. Douse it with water twice and stir to make sure is completely extinguished.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at eipsen@blm.gov or (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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