Tanana Zone receives large dose of dry lightning

Alaska was hit with more than 10,000 lightning strikes in the last 24 hours, and the Tanana Zone received its share as dry lightning.  Two new fires were reported in the Tanana Zone on Wednesday, with 19 new fires statewide. Additionally, the dry wind from the northeast and downdrafts from thunderstorms have fanned flames from existing fires into new fuels, producing large columns of smoke and increasing the sizes of existing fires.

Four of the more significant fires are described below:

Bergman Creek Fire (#312) – 15,979 acres, 16 firefighters

The Bergman Creek Fire was active and spreading to the southwest while backing more slowly northward. Smokejumpers have prepared several allotments to withstand the fire as it spreads, and are working on making prevention improvements to several more. The allotments are not in the path of the fire at this time, as they lie to the northeast and the primary spread is southwest. When the wind shifts, however, the preparations being made now will give the firefighters a better chance to keep fire off the allotments. The Prineville Hotshots are expected to arrive at the fire later today. The Bergman Creek Fire is 28 miles southwest of Allakaket.

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – 18,496 acres, 20 firefighters

The Lloyd Mountain Fire had extremely limited visibility throughout the day until an inversion lifted at about 6:30 p.m. As the sky cleared, a large column developed along the northern flank of the fire. The firefighters immediately ordered air resources for observation and suppression and were still actively engaged with suppression actions Wednesday evening. The Lloyd Mountain Fire, ignited by lightning on June 23, is located along the Cosna River about 14 miles south of its confluence with the Tanana River.

Grouse Creek (#485) and Twin Ponds (#486) Fires – 220 acres, 8 firefighters

The Grouse Creek and Twin Ponds Fires were reported on July 10 about 6 miles east of Rampart within an oxbow of the Yukon. They are very close to each other and will likely merge. A load of smokejumpers was ordered yesterday and is currently on site and actively protecting a cluster of inhabited cabins to the north, along the banks of the Yukon River.

Foraker Fire (#389) – 13,370 acres, 5 firefighters

No report received for the Foraker Fire, located 22 miles west of Kantishna in the Denali National Park. The listed acreage was determined by mapping several days ago. Heavy smoke has prevented mapping recently, but it has definitely grown beyond the listed acreage.

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