Porcupine Fire Grows as Yukon Flats sees more lightning-caused starts

(Fairbanks, Alaska) – Hot and dry weather lingers in the Yukon Flats, keeping it primed for new lightning-induced fires and high fire activity. Lightning sparked 16 new wildfires in the state, six of them in northeastern Alaska. Despite the lightning and gusty winds Sunday evening, localized showers and high relative humidity over most of northcentral Alaska contributed to fairly low fire activity on many existing fires. Most were burning in areas with limited protection levels and are being monitored.

  • Photo of the Porcupine Fire.
  • Photo of the Porcupine Fire.

The Porcupine Fire (#249), which started Saturday, was the exception to the subdued fire activity. The fire tripled in size and is estimated at 100 acres. It is burning about 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. On Sunday, thunderstorms with gusty winds pushed the fire to the northwest where it jumped a slough of the Draanjik (formerly the Black) River. A total of 42 firefighters are assigned to the fire. The Rogue River Hotshots are constructing fireline and laying hose along the perimeter of the original burn area and should complete the work within a day. An additional load of 12 smokejumpers joined those on the ground to work on hot spots across the slough. Two Fire Boss water-scooper planes focused on the spot fires. A helicopter dropped buckets of water on active portions of the fire as winds and weather allowed. Fire managers expect significant progress on a section that slopped over the firelines in the next two days.

Map of Porcupine Fire on June 15, 2020
The Porcupine Fire is burning 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon and is being fought by ground crews and aircraft. Wind has pushed the fire to the northwest. For a pdf of map click here.
Fire activity picked up on the Porcupine Fire (249) burning 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon Sunday night. Video by Robert Yaeger, BLM AFS

Equipment was removed and backhauled from the Alfred Creek Fire (#215), burning about 11 miles east of Stevens Village. Containment is estimated at 50%. The BLM Alaska Fire Service Chena Hotshots are assessing allotments along the south side of the Yukon River near Stevens Village. They will provide structure protection based on proximity to fire, vegetation type and wind direction. The Old Lost Fire (#234), burning about 8 miles northeast of the Alfred Creek Fire, remained quiet Sunday due to rain. This fire is burning toward and could overtake the Alfred Creek fire if northeast winds continue.

Of the new fires, smokejumpers attacked the Victoria Creek Fire (#263), estimated at 70 acres burning in the BLM White Mountain Recreation Area about 40 miles southeast of Stevens Village. Two other fires were spotted in the area. The Grouse Creek (#265) and Lost Horizon (#264) firesare located on State of Alaska or BLM managed land with limited protection and are being monitored.

Three new fires were spotted in the Hadweenzic River drainage. The Forty Two Mile Creek Fire (#260), the Sixty One Mountain Fire (#261) andthe Candle Creek Fire (#262) were estimated to have burned a total of about six acres on land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within a limited protection area. All three fires are being monitored.

Equipment is dropped to firefighters on the Porcupine Fire on June 14, 2020. Video by Robert Yaeger, BLM AFS

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907)356-5511. For a pdf of this update click here.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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