Mushroom pickers discover hot spot from last summer’s Shovel Creek Fire

Mushroom pickers on Thursday discovered a small hot spot that overwintered from last summer’s Shovel Creek Fire northwest of Fairbanks.

The mushroom pickers notified the Alaska Division of Forestry at 3:30 p.m. and flagged a trail to the hot spot so two prevention officers could locate it. The hot spot was located about one-quarter of a mile off a side road of Old Murphy Dome Road that leads to a communication tower.

The two prevention officers found a  2-foot-by-2-foot hot spot smoldering in the duff and some burned out roots. No flames were present and the technicians extinguished the hot spot within minutes. They returned Friday to check the hot spot and declared it out at 4:20 p.m. They also gridded the area for any additional hot spots and found none.

A wisp of smoke is visible from a hot spot still smoldering from last summer’s Shovel Creek Fire on Thursday, June 25, 2020 near Old Murphy Dome Road northwest of Fairbanks. The hot spot was discovered by mushroom pickers and was quickly extinguished by Division of Forestry prevention technicians. Photo by Doug Younce/Alaska Division of Forestry

It’s the first holdover fire that has been discovered from last summer’s Shovel Creek Fire, which burned 22,487 acres just north of Murphy Dome, about 25 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The fire prompted evacuation notices for more than 900 homes and burned for more than six weeks.

Ironically, it was the second holdover fire of the day. A holdover fire from the massive Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula was reported at almost the same exact time Thursday about 500 miles south of Fairbanks when motorists on the Sterling Highway reported smoke and flames from the highway. That fire was estimated at 7.2 acres and prompted an active response from the ground and air. It was the second Swan Lake holdover fire discovered in the past 10 days. .

For official records, the Shovel Creek holdover fire was named the Shovel Creek Overwinter #1 Fire.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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