Fire managers flew over the Nugget Creek Fire (#323) area on Saturday evening and reported minimal growth of the fire perimeter, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. Visible smoke in the area is largely due to the consumption of unburned pockets of fuel within the fire interior.
Fire activity along the northern edge near the Chena River is minimal. The southern point of the fire crossed the South Fork Chena River approximately 5 miles south of Chena Hot Springs Road and continues to back slowly into the 2013 Stuart Creek Fire scar. The fire is moving gradually east and south, away from Chena Hot Springs Road and Chena River.
Visibility on the ground may be compromised by smoke, so please use caution if you are traveling along 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.
The Nugget Creek public use cabin, which is located on the east bank of the South Fork Chena River within the fire perimeter, remains intact as of July 13, although the fire burned up to the east side of the structure. The decision was made on Saturday’s flight to leave pumps and sprinklers in place due to some residual pockets of heat in the area around the cabin. There are six firefighters on engines 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.