Smoke spreads across Alaska from northeastern Interior fires

Smoke from fires burning 70-miles north of Fort Yukon is spreading across many areas of Interior Alaska. The fires burning east of the Sheenjek River and along the Canadian border increased by more than 11,000-acres since Sunday. The northeast to north winds are also carrying smoke from fires burning in the Yukon and Northwest territories

There are 28 active fires in the Upper Yukon fire management zone. Most of these fires are burning in remote areas designated for limited protection and are not threatening any sites of value. Despite this, firefighters are assigned to three fires to provide protection to cabins and Native allotments while allowing the remainder of the fires to continue to function in their natural ecological role.

Follow this link to see an interactive map forecasting the smoke’s movement.

 

This image shows the extent of the smoke spreading Tuesday evening from fires burning in the northeastern Interior, Yukon and Northwest territories.

This image shows the extent of the smoke spreading Tuesday evening from fires burning in the northeastern Interior, Yukon and Northwest territories. Image courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Here’s a breakdown of staffed fires in the Upper Yukon Zone:

Big Lake (#308) – 5 acres. Start date 7/5/17. Four personnel. Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) Fire Technicians conducted a 100-percent grid search of the fire and surrounding unburned areas and found no hot spots. The fire was called out at 10 p.m. Tuesday. All personnel and their equipment will demobilize from the fire today. The Big Lake Fire is located on Native Corporation land 5.6 miles northwest of Beaver.

Dietrich River (#304) – 400 acres. Start date 7/5/17. Four personnel. Minimal fire growth was observed Tuesday as multiple thunderstorms passed through the area. However, firefighters reported little to no rain fell on the fire. BLM Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) and DOF personnel are monitoring the fire burning along the Dalton Highway near Milepost 224. Motorists on the highway are advised to approach the area with caution, keeping an eye out for fire personnel and smoke possibly obscuring the road.

Boulder Creek (#292) – 23,384 acres, an increase of 9,477 acres since Monday. Start date 7/2/17. 75 personnel. Firefighters are organized into two different groups, both tasked with providing protection to Native allotments and permitted cabins in the area of Vundik Lake and the Sheenjek River. Crews will continue to improve their saw lines and sprinkler set ups as they hold their positions and monitor the fires burning nearby. Personnel reported increased activity in several areas around the fire Tuesday. This fire, along with White Snow Fire (#303) and Helmet Fire (#312), are all within six miles of each other on the east side of the Sheenjek River. They are burning in a limited suppression area in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Campbell River (#268) – 33,100 acres, an increase of 1,622 acres since Monday. Start date 6/26/17. 35 personnel. Firefighters continue to improve their saw lines and sprinkler set ups as they prepare to protect Native allotments and permitted cabins in the areas of Salmon Trout, Porcupine, and Campbell rivers. The fire is burning in a limited protection area within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It started in the Yukon Territory and crossed into Alaska. The total fire size is estimated to be more than 93,000 acres.

Contact Public Information Officer Sam Harrel at (907) 322-7204 or pio.samharrel@gmail.com for more information.

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