Lightning sparks multiple new wildfires in Southwest Alaska

Three new lightning-caused fires were reported in Southwest Alaska on Sunday, bringing the total number of current active fires in the Southwest Area to 10 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Division of Forestry office in McGrath. Five fires have been extinguished by Division of Forestry firefighters while 10 fires are currently burning in Limited protection areas and are being monitored. One other fire in Modified protection has been contained and is now in monitor status. With more lightning in the forecast today, fire managers are anticipating more wildfire activity and will be conducting detection flights to search for new fires.

A photo taken Saturday of the Little East Fork Fire burning about 45 miles southwest of McGrath. The fire is burning in a Limited protection area with no resources threatened. The fire is being monitored. Photo by Matt Snyder/Alaska Division of Forestry

Southwest Area – Alaska Division of Forestry new fires:

  • French Joe Mountain Fire (#206) – (1.5 acres) Located approximately 30 miles west of McGrath. Initially discovered by McGrath Alaska Division of Forestry helitack personnel, with a 100% active perimeter, burning in hardwoods, spruce and tundra. The fire was burning in a Modified protection area. Forestry personnel and helicopter water drops rapidly contained the fire and it was declared out at 5 p.m. All personnel were demobilized from the fire.
  • Crater Mountain Fire (#205) – (2 acres) Located approximately 30 miles west of McGrath. The fire was reported by the incident commander of the nearby French Joe Mountain Fire (#206) and was burning in a similar fuel type. The fire was burning in a Modified protection area. Forestry firefighters and helicopter water drops contained the fire perimeter and it was declared out by 4:30 p.m. All personnel were demobilized from the fire.
  • Dishna River Fire (#210) – (25 acres) Located 55 miles northwest of McGrath. Fire was discovered by a state forestry detection flight and the fire was reported to be creeping in tundra fuels. The fire is located in a Limited protection area with no values or resources threatened and will be monitored.

Southwest Area – Alaska Division of Forestry staffed fires:

  • No fires are currently staffed with firefighting personnel at this time.

Southwest Area – Alaska Division of Forestry monitor fires:

The following fires are in monitor status. Monitoring schedules are based on defined time frames, but are dependent on available resources, and weather conditions. When monitoring occurs, information will be updated.

  • Ongivinuck River Fire (#175) – (2400 acres) The lightning-caused Ongivinuck River Fire was reported on June 5 and is located 44 miles northeast of Dillingham. The fire is burning in a Limited protection area on the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Alaska Division of Forestry and the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge are cooperating extensively to aggressively monitor the activity and progress of this fire and to provide updated information to area residents. Although there are several allotments and cabins in the area, none are threatened at this time.  Fire managers estimate that the current weather forecast, terrain and fuels indicate that the fire-spread potential towards cabins located downriver is low. The fire is currently burning in typical tundra fuels and caribou mosses.
  • Kulukak River Fire (#204) – (5 acres) Located approximately 35 northwest of Dillingham in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. The fire is burning in a Limited protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Buchia Ridge (#203) – (20 acres) Located approximately 35 miles west of Dillingham in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. This fire is located in a Limited protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Kipchuk Fire (#198) – (200 acres) Located 45 miles south of Aniak. This fire is located in a Limited protection area with no resources currently threatened and will be monitored.
  • Dollar Creek Fire (#193) – (0.1 acres) Located approximately 30 miles of west of McGrath. This fire is located in a Modified protection area and was extinguished by Division of Forestry Firefighters. Currently there are no resources threatened. This fire will be monitored.
  • Little East Fork Fire (#192) – (150 acres) Located approximately 45 miles southwest of McGrath. The fire was flown by reconnaissance aircraft and minimal fire activity was observed. This fire is located in a Limited protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Buzzard Peak Fire (#176) – (7.8 acres) Located approximately 40 miles northwest of Dillingham. The fire is located in a Modified protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Old Grouch Top Fire (#174) – (300 acres) Located approximately 40 miles northwest of McGrath. The fire is located in a Modified protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Mt. Hurst Fire (#169) – (150 acres)Located 38 miles west of McGrath. No recent smoke or activity was detected when it was last observed by reconnaissance aircraft. The fire is located in a Limited protection area with no resources threatened and will be monitored.
  • Beaver Creek Fire (#173) – (18 acres) Located approximately 20 miles west of McGrath. The fire plotted in Modified protection and was extinguished by Division of Forestry Firefighters. This fire has been declared out.
  • Lonesome Hills (#171) – (5.5 acres) Located approximately 5 miles northeast of McGrath. This fire was located in a Full protection area and was extinguished by state forestry personnel and declared out on June 9.

The Southwest Area Forestry office in McGrath appreciates reports from the public regarding fire activity and will be conducting detection flights to look for other new fires in the area. To report new fires in the Southwest Area, call 907-524-3366 (FIRE LINE).  For more infromation call Alaska Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Tim Mowry at 907-863-2009 or visit AKFIREINFO.COM online for current statewide fire information.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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