Firefighters were back on the line early Sunday working to contain the lightning-caused Any Creek Fire (#236) located approximately 10 miles north of Fairbanks near Old Murphy Dome Road.
The latest size estimate for the fire is 50 acres, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. More than 130 personnel are on scene, including five hand crews and multiple aviation assets. The fire, which was reported at around 2:15 p.m. Saturday following several lightning strikes in the area, is located about 7 miles west of the Elliott Highway.
Aircraft were in the air again late Sunday morning to drop water on the fire and to evaluate the effectiveness of Saturday’s suppression efforts while firefighters on the ground mobilized to different parts of the fire to re-engage.
A “Level 1:Ready” evacuation notice remains in effect for residents in the O’Connor Creek subdivision, which includes Hattie Creek Road, Resolution Road, Determination Lane and Adit Lane. This means residents in those areas should be ready to evacuate in the event fire activity increases. Approximately 15-20 residences are in the immediate area.
Old Murphy Dome Road is open to traffic but motorists should avoid the area, if possible, so as not to interfere with firefighting operations. Anyone traveling in the area should use caution and watch for firefighters and firefighting equipment along the road.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire to provide a safe working environment for firefighting aircraft. Details of the TFR can be found at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_9305.html.
Today’s plan of attack is for firefighters to construct and reinforce direct containment lines to keep the fire from spreading further south toward residences. Firefighters are also working to contain multiple spot fires that resulted from airborne embers that crossed containment lines into unburned vegetation
The fire is burning through predominately black spruce. The fire is burning up a drainage toward Old Murphy Dome Road, but is still about ¾ of a mile north of the road. A fuel break and the road stand in the way of the fire and the subdivision.
More lightning and gusty winds, as well as rain and possible hail, is in the forecast for the Middle Tanana Valley. An effort is being made to get the fire under control as soon as possible to make resources available for initial attack on any new starts that may occur.
An aggressive aerial and ground assault on Saturday helped corral the fire and keep it from threatening the subdivision. Aircraft, including two air retardant tankers, eight water bombers and two helicopters, were used to attack the fire from the air while firefighters on the ground utilized engines and heavy equipment to build containment lines and keep the fire from spreading.
Rain moved into the area early Saturday evening and moderated fire behavior, as did higher relative humidity and cooler temperatures associated with a passing thunderstorm.