Firefighters continue to make good progress containing the Any Creek Fire (#236) located about 10 miles north of Fairbanks near Old Murphy Dome Road.
The fire, located about 7 miles west of Elliott Highway and ¾ of a mile north of Old Murphy Dome Road, showed no significant movement on Monday. Winds associated with several thunder cells that moved down the Chatanika Valley Monday afternoon produced an uptick in activity, with several smokes popping up in the interior of the fire and along some portions of the containment line. Strategic water drops by a helicopter were used to cool those areas until crews could be moved in to deal with them. Crews were successful in keeping the fire from spreading beyond containment lines. The fire did receive light precipitation late Monday afternoon, which helped calm fire behavior.
The fire is now estimated at 44 acres, a slight reduction from the previous 50 acres due to more accurate mapping. Containment remains at 15%, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 116 personnel working to increase containment. There are five hand crews assigned to the fire and another 20-person hotshot crew is expected to arrive at the fire sometime in the afternoon.
Firefighters have wrapped the perimeter of the fire with a saw line and have a hose line around the entire fire. A contingency dozer line paralleling Old Murphy Dome Road was also constructed in an attempt to keep the fire from moving north toward the O’Connor Creek subdivision with 15-20 residences. A “Level 1: Ready” evacuation notice remains in place for those residences.
Suppression efforts are being hindered by steep slopes, muddy ground, lack of motorized access to northern portions of the fire and “jackpots” of dead and down black spruce that requires extensive chainsaw work.
Given the fire history in the area and the heavy, volatile fuels in the Chatanika River drainage, the objective is to achieve 100 percent containment, which will require extensive mop up.
Another round of scattered thunder storms and showers are forecast in the area today, with a high temperature in the mid 70s. Partly cloudy skies and a relative humidity in the high 30% range should work to the firefighters’ advantage. Winds are forecast to be light and variable unless thunder cells pass close by.
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.
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.