Strong winds out of the west increased fire activity along the southeastern edge of the Nugget Creek Fire (#323) on Thursday night, followed by sustained rains throughout Friday that slowed fire progress. The fire has crossed the South Fork Chena River at the southern point and burned into the 2013 Stuart Creek Fire scar. Smoke and low visibility have prevented fire managers from conducting an aerial reconnaissance of the fire since Tuesday, July 9, preventing accurate and up-to-date mapping. Visibility on the ground in the fire area is also very poor, so please use caution if you are traveling along the Chena Hot Springs Road.
The Nugget Creek Fire is burning east of Fairbanks in the Chena River State Recreation Area. It has grown to approximately 15,963 acres, moving toward the southwest and some slow southeastern growth. Recent rain over the fire area has slowed fire growth.
The fire was started by lightning on June 21 and is burning along Chena Hot Springs Road between mileposts 29 and 40. The fire remains on the south side of the road and Chena River, though it has burned up to the river’s edge in many spots. The fire is burning in a limited protection area and has been monitored to this point to ensure that it remains south of the river and road. Firefighters provided structure protection for the Nugget Creek public-use cabin, which is located on the east bank of the South Fork Chena River. Pumps, hose and sprinklers were set up around it for protection against the fire, and the cabin remains intact. There are six firefighters patrolling the fire from Chena Hot Springs Road to monitor fire progress.
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 Trailhead and parking at mile 39 is also closed but river access at milepost 39 has been reopened. The river access road at mile 37.7 remains closed. For more information on closures in the state rec area contact Alaska State Parks at 451-2695 or by email at email@example.com. For information on current road conditions, visit http://511.alaska.gov.