The 50-acre Any Creek Fire (#236) burning about 10 miles north of Fairbanks showed minimal movement most of Sunday due to light rain on portions of the fire. The cooler, damper weather allowed firefighters to get hose lines completely around the perimeter of the fire. Containment is estimated at 15% as of this morning, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The fire is burning about 7 miles west of the Elliott Highway and about three-quarters of mile north of Old Murphy Dome Road. There are currently about 135 personnel working to contain the fire, which was started by lightning on Saturday afternoon.
Fire activity did pick up slightly Sunday evening when conditions cleared and temperatures warmed up but containment lines held and high overnight relative humidity helped moderate activity. Fire behavior on Sunday consisted mainly of creeping, smoldering and some single tree torching. With the long daylight hours, solar radiation can cause flare ups of unburned areas within the interior of the fire.
Warmer and drier weather is forecast for today and firefighters expect more instability and thunderstorms in the area by Tuesday. There was a light north wind on the fire area Monday morning with light drift smoke flowing south toward Fairbanks. Smoke is not impacting Fairbanks at this time, however.
Suppression objectives for today are to continue securing the perimeter, thus preventing spread to the south toward the O’Conner Creek Subdivision and Old Murphy Dome Road. Firefighters are also working on the north end of the fire to prevent it from spreading toward the Chantanika River and private property in that valley.
A “Level 1: Ready” evacuation notice remains in place for properties within O’Conner Creek Subdivision, which means residents should be aware of a fire in the area in the event activity increases and the fire becomes a bigger threat.
Two helicopters, a Blackhawk and an Aerostar, are being shared with the fire for water drops and logistical missions. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. For details on the TFR, go to https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_9305.html.
A lookout is positioned at the north end of the fire to monitor fire activity. The lookouts make reports on increasing fire activity, collect hourly weather observations, and keep an eye out for undiscovered spot fires. On Saturday afternoon, considerable spot fire activity was observed and firefighters worked to secure those small spot fires.
Firefighters are cautiously optimistic regarding their efforts to date on the southern portion (head) of the fire, the part of the fire closest to Old Murphy Dome Road. Today, intensive suppression work will be done on the tail of the fire as well.
Water sources and water supplies remain spotty, so it is not fair to characterize the fire as “fully plumbed” but water tenders from local fire departments and water companies have been hauling water to the fire and filling portable water tanks that are being used to provide firefighters with a water source.
Old Murphy Dome Road remains open to traffic but motorists and off-roaders are advised to steer clear of the area if possible so as not to interfere with fire operations. Anyone driving in the area should use caution, drive slowly and be on the lookout for fire personnel and equipment on or along the road.