Shovel Creek Fire July 7th 8am Update: Burn Operation to Continue Along Old Murphy Dome Road

Watch videos and fire footage at the Shovel Creek Fire YouTube channel:

Mendocino Hot Shots conducting burnout operations on Murphy Dome.
Photo Courtesy:Ken Gregor/PNW2

With warmer and drier conditions, fire behavior increased across the Shovel Creek Fire area yesterday. Fire continues to back down into the Murphy Creek drainage from yesterday’s burnout operation. Helicopters assisted the fire’s progression by dropping plastic spheres that ignite when they hit the ground, adding depth to the burn and providing a stronger buffer to control lines. Aircraft also supported ground personnel by dropping water to help prevent the fire from crossing the dozer line and road.

If conditions remain favorable, firefighters will begin a burnout operation today moving along the Old Murphy Dome Road and fuel break. Firefighters are implementing this plan to prevent the fire from progressing towards neighborhoods near the south and east perimeters of the fire. It will also reintroduce fire into Murphy Creek and the surrounding drainages. Continuous stands of Black Spruce, a tree with highly resinous needles and branches that ignite and burn easily, dominate the landscape. Burning in this area not only reduces the future risk of destructive wildfires adjacent to communities, but minimizing the risk to firefighters on the line and the public near the fire area.

Structure protection units near Martin, McCloud, Lincoln, Murphy and Perfect Perch neighborhoods continue to prepare for firing operations adjacent to neighborhoods. Firefighters are also protecting structures in the around the Chatanika River corridor. Structure assessments are ongoing in other neighborhoods under a Level 1 or 2 Evacuation Alert.

One of the frequently asked questions we receive is, “How can we help the firefighters?” A great way to help all firefighters is to keep your property tidy and create defensible space around your structure. For more information, read the Firewise Alaska brochure at:


  • LEVEL 1 (READY) – Chatanika River Corridor, Drouin , Hardluck , Moose Mountain, Coyote Jones ,and Hattie Creek neighborhoods
  • LEVEL 2 (SET)Lincoln Creek, Murphy, McCloud and Vancouver neighborhoods
  • LEVEL 3 (GO)Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods

Due to an ongoing firing operation, residents who leave while in Level 3 Evacuation Status will not be allowed to re-enter their properties.
An evacuation shelter has been established at Randy Smith School (1401 Bainbridge Blvd, Fairbanks, AK) to accommodate evacuees. A temporary pet shelter is located at the Tanana Fairgrounds. For more information about evacuation levels issued by the Fairbanks North Star Borough, please visit, or call (907) 459-1308.

View of the Shovel Creek Fire from Murphy Dome Road.
Photo Courtesy: Isaac Solomon/Alaska Division of Forestry

RESOURCES: 8 hotshot crews, 11 type 2 handcrews, 20 engines, 14 dozers, 7 helicopters, and 16 water tenders

WEATHER: High pressure continues over most of Alaska and Sunday’s weather will continue to be warm and dry with temperatures in the mid 80’s and relative humidity dropping to the about 30 percent. Winds are forecasted to be variable and terrain influenced. Overnight temperature will remain above 60 degrees combined with poor overnight recovery. With increased fire behavior on the Shovel Creek and neighboring fires like the Swan Lake, smoke will continue to impact the Fairbanks area. For more information on smoke and air quality, visit:

CLOSURES: The Alaska National Guard is currently staffing three road closures that will remain in place until further notice; (1) Spinach Creek Rd. and Old Murphy Dome Rd. junction – westbound (2) Murphy Dome Rd. and Old Murphy Dome Rd. junction – northbound (3) Murphy Dome Summit and Old Murphy Dome Rd.  A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place in the air space over the fire. Pilots are advised to check NOTAMS at:

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