Nugget Creek Fire Update 7-6-2019

Fire activity increased on ridgetops along the west side of the Nugget Creek Fire on Friday between mileposts 32 and 34 of the Chena Hot Springs Road, where smoke was visible throughout the day. This is a change of direction from earlier in the week, when the fire was spreading toward the Chena River at milepost 34 on the east side of the fire.

Fire managers flew over the fire to assess current conditions and check on the Nugget Creek public-use cabin, which is less than 1 mile from the fire. The fire’s interior was active, with islands of unburned fuel being consumed. With the fire now burning to the west, it is now moving away from the cabin, which has sprinklers, pumps and hose set up around it in the event the fire threatens the cabin.

Today, winds are expected to shift from the northwest in the morning to the northeast in the afternoon, which will push the fire southwest into the burned area.  

 The lightning-caused fire is burning in the Chena River State Recreation Area approximately 35 miles east of Fairbanks.  The fire is burning in a Limited Protection Area and no suppression action has been taken. Firefighters are continuing to monitor the fire from the air and ground.

The fire remains south of Chena Hot Springs Road and the Chena River. The road is open. There are six 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 also helping to slow the spread of the fire.

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.

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 brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov. For information on current road conditions, visit http://511.alaska.gov.

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