More than 20 firefighters are continuing to mop up and patrol the Shovel Creek Fire (#319). The 22,453-acre wildfire near Murphy Dome about 20 miles northwest of Fairbanks is 55 percent contained. The fire was started by lightning on June 21.
Command of the fire was transferred from a Type 3 to a Type 4 organization on Tuesday with Thomas Krock as incident commander.
Firefighters are monitoring 65 miles of perimeter around the fire by air and ground. Interior portions of the fire continue to smolder with occasional torching of trees but most fire activity is well within the perimeter of the fire and does not pose a threat. There was a roughly 1,500-acre gain in acreage over the past week but that is mainly interior pockets of unburned fuel that are being consumed by the fire. Occasional smoke will continue to be visible as the fire smolders and pockets of green fuel are burned, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The northern perimeter of the fire closest to cabins on the Chatanika River is still smoldering and a group of rappellers was inserted on Tuesday to construct a new helispot near the structures closest to the fire in the event action is needed to protect the cabins. The rappellers are also working to secure the fire perimeter in that section. There is no fire activity on the southern perimeter closest to subdivisions on Murphy Dome.
Rehabilitation work on areas damaged by suppression actions is progressing and going well. Firefighters are working on Old Murphy Dome Road and a few other key locations.
Motorists and recreationalists in the area are advised to drive slow and be on the lookout for firefighters and firefighting equipment along roads. There are personnel working on the road that leads from Murphy Dome Road to the Chatanika River boat launch. Also, the public is asked to avoid using the shooting range in that area due to concerns for firefighter safety.