Increase in fire activity prompts Level 1 evacuation alert for Shovel Creek Fire

The Alaskan Type 2 Incident Management Team (Incident Commander Norm McDonald) assumed command of the Shovel Creek (#319) and Nugget Creek (#323) Fires 7 a.m. on Monday, June 24.

Firefighters gather for the morning briefing for the Shovel Creek Fire near Murphy Dome on Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019. Photo by Sarah Saarloos.

Firefighters gather for the morning briefing for the Shovel Creek Fire near Murphy Dome on Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019. Photo by Sarah Saarloos.

The Shovel Creek Fire was started by lightning on June 21 and is located 3 miles north of Murphy Dome, about 20 miles northwest of Fairbanks. Firefighters have been engaged in containment of the fire with the support of firefighting aircraft as needed. Additionally, firefighters have been assessing risk to nearby structures and planning for structure protection, should it be needed. After a day of fire activity that was moderated by light precipitation, cloud cover, and cooler temperatures, the Shovel Creek Fire became more active on Monday afternoon. An increase in winds from the west, led to several spot fires to the east of the 7 Mile Trail. Firefighting aircraft immediately supported firefighters on the ground with both water and retardant drops to limit the spread of the spot fires. As of Monday evening, the Shovel Creek Fire was 588 acres with 0 percent containment.

Due to changing conditions on the Shovel Creek Fire, residents in the surrounding communities should be aware of the fire activity and take any necessary steps to be ready for additional future fire growth and the possibility of evacuation. Fairbanks North Star Borough, in consultation with the incident management team, made the decision to place the communities of Martin subdivision, McCloud subdivision, Murphy subdivision, Lincoln subdivision, Perfect Perch Drive, and the Chatanika River corridor in Level 1 (Ready) evacuation status. Level 1 evacuation status is not an evacuation order; rather it is a notice for residents should be ready for a potential evacuation.

A perimeter map of the Shovel Creek Fire, estimated at 588 acres as of Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019.

A perimeter map of the Shovel Creek Fire, estimated at 588 acres as of Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019. For a downloadable PDF version of the map go to Shovel Creek fire map for June 25.

On Tuesday, crews will continue direct attack with aircraft support in order to achieve containment. Firefighters will continue point protection actions and structure assessments in all areas where values at risk are located in the fire area. Coordination with local government and cooperators will continue to evaluate and plan for any potential evacuation needs.

The Nugget Creek Fire was started by lightning on June 21 and is located approximately 35 miles east of Fairbanks in the area of 34 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road in the Chena River State Recreation Area. Air attack responded and reported a 150 acre burning in black spruce approximately 2 miles from Chena Hot Springs Road on the south side of the river. The fire is in a Limited Protection Area near the South Fork Chena River. No resources were threatened and the fire was placed in monitor status. On Monday, no smoke or fire activity was visible when firefighters monitored the Nugget Creek Fire from the ground along the Chena Hot Springs Road. The fire is currently 519 acres.
The incident management team will began to create a strategic plan for future management actions on this fire and continue to monitor the fire from both the air and ground when necessary and feasible.

WEATHER: A warming and drying trend is expected for the fire area through Thursday as a ridge of high-pressure builds. Gusty southwesterly winds Monday afternoon will become more northwesterly by Monday evening. Winds will decrease early Tuesday. No rainfall is currently expected for the fire area until at least the weekend.

SAFETY: Residents in the area are asked to avoid the Murphy Dome area due to the firefighting activity and the potential for interfering with fire personnel. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place in the air space over the fire. Pilots are advised to check NOTAMS at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_0263.html.

 

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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