Earlier storms have passed through the Upper Yukon Zone with thousands of lightning strikes this week. Drought has continued in the zone causing the trees and duff layer to be very dry making fires difficult to contain.
There are 57 active fires in the zone with five new ones in the last 48 hours. Firefighters and aircraft have been staffing and monitoring these fires with the largest recently at 200 acres and the smallest at half an acre. Allotment and structure protection remain a priority as well as initial attack to new fires.
The Old John Fire (#681), near Old John Lake east of Arctic Village, is 200 acres and is staffed by eight smokejumpers. The fire is burning in tussock and tundra.
The Victoria Mountain Fire (#329) is about 55 miles southeast of Steven’s Village. A helitack crew is accessing the area and putting in hose lay and sprinkler systems to protect a residence.
The Small Timber Lake Fire (#678), east of Circle, was half an acre and smokejumpers have secured a perimeter and contained the fire.
Fir Jefferson Creek Fire (#682), east of Circle, is 14 acres and smokejumpers are mopping up, putting out hotspots in the interior of the containment line.
Rain remains to be minimal in the zone and has kept fire activity low, but the duff layer and trees are extremely dry. Once the low clouds in the area leave, fire behavior will increase and smoke will also come back to the area. New starts are anticipated as the precipitation moves out of the region.
Information on wildfire smoke predictions can be found at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks website located at http://smoke.alaska.edu/.
For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907) 356-5511, or email 2019.AFS.FIRES@gmail.com.