Crews on Wednesday continued working hard to increase containment on the Any Creek Fire (#236) located about 10 miles north of Fairbanks near Old Murphy Dome Road.
As of Wednesday morning, the fire remained at an estimated 44 acres with 15% containment. There were 89 personnel assigned to the fire and the Wolf Creek Interagency Hotshot Crew from Oregon was expected to arrive today to bolster containment efforts. With the addition of the Wolf Creek hotshots, there are a total of five hand crews working on the fire.
The fire was started by lightning on Saturday afternoon about 7 miles west of the Elliott Highway and less than a mile north of the O’Connor Creek Subdivision. An aggressive aerial assault using air retardant tankers and water bombing aircraft helped keep the fire from growing bigger and crews have been engaged in keeping the fire within its current footprint for the past four days.
Fire behavior over the past four days has been minimal for the most part, with a slight increase in activity in the late afternoon when temperatures heat up and the relative humidity drops. Fire behavior currently consists primarily of creeping, smoldering and occasional single-tree torching on the interior of the fire. Strategic helicopter water drops have been used to address hot spots that become active in the afternoon.
Containment lines continue to hold and firefighters have plumbed the fire with a hose line around the entire perimeter. A saw line has also been cut around the fire to reduce the chances of it spreading. The fire received precipitation on Sunday and Monday and high overnight relative humidity has helped minimize fire activity as crews continue direct line construction to keep the fire from spreading.
A contingency dozer line has been constructed parallel to Old Murphy Dome Road in the event fire activity increases and to reduce the potential for spot fires as a result of airborne embers crossing containment lines.
Firefighters are being challenged by steep slopes, muddy ground, lack of motorized access to the northern portions of the fire and “jackpots” of dead and down black spruce that require 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.
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.