Smoke from 32,500-acre fire near Koyuk blankets Norton Sound area

Norton Sound communities are experiencing smoke drifting from the North River Fire (#218) burning about 28 miles northeast of Koyuk. The fire is burning through tundra interspersed with patches of black spruce. It grew to an estimated 32,500 acres in the past couple of days. BLM Alaska Fire Service Galena Management Zone personnel are periodically flying over the fire to check its progress as it burns in a limited management option area. Firefighters aboard yesterday’s reconnaissance flight reported 75 percent of the fire’s perimeter was active as the fire was creeping and torching in groups of black spruce. The fire was spotting in places and there were flames between 1-30 feet. The fire was most active in black spruce on the south and west side. It is not immediately threatening any structures, Native allotments or other values and will be allowed to function in its natural, ecological role.

Photo of 32,500-acre North River Fire burning 28 miles northeast of Koyuk.

The North River Fire put up smoke that blanked many Norton Sound communities in the past few days. It is estimated at 32,500 acres and burning in tundra with large patches of black spruce. July 16, 2019 photo from BLM Alaska Fire Service

There are two other, much smaller fires burning near Koyuk. The BLM AFS North Star Crew is mopping up the 82-mile Inglutalik River Fire (#232) 17 miles southeast of Koyuk. The crew tentatively plans to wrap up that work and leave the fire on Wednesday. Smokejumpers snuffed out the 21-acre Darby Mountain Fire (#216) burning 15 miles west of Koyuk a day after it was reported on June 11.

All three fires were lightning caused.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or eipsen@blm.gov.

 

Map of Koyuk area fires to include 82-mile Inglutalik River (#232) Fire, the 21-acre Darby Mountain Fire (#216), and the 32,500-acre North River Fire.

Map of Koyuk area fires to include 82-mile Inglutalik River (#232) Fire, the 21-acre Darby Mountain Fire (#216), and the 32,500-acre North River Fire. Click on 6-17-19 Koyuk area fires for PDF version of map.

 

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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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