The Nugget Creek Fire experienced minimal growth on Tuesday thanks to cloud cover and cooler temperatures. Fire behavior on Tuesday was described as backing and creeping with isolated tree torching. A reconnaissance flight of the fire revealed considerable heat in the interior of the fire and a 70 percent active perimeter, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The lightning-caused fire, estimated at 6,937 acres, is burning in a limited protection area in the Chena River State Recreation Area near mileposts 37 and 38 on Chena Hot Springs Road.
The fire remains south of the Chena River and Chena Hot Springs Road but has burned down to the south edge of the river in some places. At its closest point, the fire is one-half mile from the road. The fire is being monitored by firefighters from Chena Hot Springs Road and from the air but no suppression action has been taken to this point because the fire is burning in a limited protection area.
Fire managers’ objective is to keep the fire south of the river and road. There are seven firefighters in three engines monitoring the fire from the road. The firefighters are camping in the area to be able to respond quickly if the fire does cross the river and approach the road.
Fire scars to the west and east of the fire, as well as numerous creeks and sloughs, are helping to slow the spread of the fire, also.
SAFETY: The fire is visible from the road and motorists are asked to avoid stopping along the roadside to take pictures or watch the fire so as not to pose a safety hazard to themselves or other motorists. Motorists are also advised to drive with care in the fire area along Chena Hot Springs Road, and to watch for fire apparatus entering and exiting the highway near mile 37.7.
CLOSURES: Alaska State Parks has closed both the Nugget Creek public-use cabin and the Mastodon Trail leading to it until further notice. The trailhead is located at mile 38.6 Chena Hot Springs Road. The Granite Tors Trail at mile 39 is also closed. River access roads at miles 37.7 and 39 have also been closed. For more information on closures in the state rec area contact Alaska State Parks at 451-2695 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on current road conditions, visit http://511.alaska.gov.