After another hot and dry spell that stoked fire activity on existing fires, a cooler and wetter weather has moved into most of the state that will hopefully help moderate fire behavior and help firefighters working on BLM Alaska Fire Service’s staffed fires. The Eastern Interior parts of the state may miss most of the wetter weather that is expected to fall on two-thirds of the state, which could keep the cluster of fires burning along the Yukon River active.
There are seven firefighters from the BLM Alaska Fire Service, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still working on the group of fires burning in the historic Coal Creek mining area about 57 miles northwest of Eagle in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Their task is setting up protection around the 91 sites ranging from outhouses, weather stations, historic sites and even two gold dredges that require some form of protection. The fires include the 6,839-acre Webber Creek Fire (#135); the 821-acre Edwards Creek Fire (#365); the 770-acre Dome Creek Fire (#361); the 300-acre Eureka Creek Fire (#370); and the 6,367-acre Andrew Creek Fire (#366). All are lightning-caused. The Webber Creek Fire was discovered on June 4 while the other four were discovered on July 24. The biggest concern has been the Andrew Creek Fire burning between the mouth of Coal Creek and Charley River on the south side of the Yukon River. Firefighters are mopping up around a cabin near the Sams Creek that was earlier threatened by the fire. A BLM AFS drone is also being used to scout out some of the more remote cabins off of the trail system to help with site assessment and prep work for structures littered throughout the area.
The handful of firefighters working on the Zitziana River Fire (#133) successfully completed a burn operation that will to help protect structures on Iksgiza Lake. Firefighters burned a section of open tundra interspersed with black spruce trees to remove problem fuels and limit the potential of the fire making a strong run at the lake upon the return of fire weather. Unlike Kindamina Lake that was surrounded by black spruce, Iksgiza Lake is surrounded by hardwood stands which are less volatile. Firefighters have also put structure protection measures in place for the lakeside properties. They’ll be busy mopping up the burn operation as wetter weather is expected to move into the area in the next few days. At an estimated 65,763 acres, the Zitziana River Fire is the largest in the state and along with its neighbor, the 56,602-acre Mooseheart Fire, has produced most of the smoke affecting air quality in the Tanana Valley several times this summer. Because the fires are burning in a limited management option area, firefighters have intermittently staffed the Zitziana River fire to protect the structures when threatened. The fires are burning about eight miles south of Manley Hot Springs and about 100 miles west of Fairbanks.
The 19 firefighters working on the Hughes Mountain Fire (#363) continue to grapple with the 46-acre fire burning four miles west of Hughes on the opposite side of the Koyukuk River since July 24. They have made good progress despite the numerous challenges such as lack of an immediate water source, steep terrain and downed trees including large white spruce as they continue to secure the line around the fire that is burning on Native corporation land. They’re hoping to get help from the weather as a low pressure system is expected to move over the fire today, bringing rain showers for the next couple of days.
For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories: AK Fire Info