Firefighters from both the Division of Forestry and BLM Alaska Fire Service are making progress containing two wildfires about 20 miles apart north of Fairbanks.
Approximately 60 firefighter personnel are attacking the Haystack Fire (#196), is located about one-half mile past the end of Middle Fork Road in the Haystack Subdivision, about 20 miles north of Fairbanks. It is approximately 2 ½ miles east of the Elliott Highway and 5 ½ miles west of the Steese Highway. There is no road access to the fire.
The fire was reported at 6:30 p.m. as a 3- to 4-acre fire burning in black spruce with a 100 percent active perimeter and 8- to 10-foot flame lengths at the head. No resources are reported to be threatened at this point.
Two air tankers and three water-scooping aircraft are making retardant and water drops on and around the fire to slow its progress while firefighters on the ground dig in. A four-person Helitack load was delivered to the fire and eight smokejumpers were dropped on the fire at approximately 8:30 p.m. to help contain the fire.
Two crews – the White Mountain and Tanana Chiefs crews – have also arrived at the fire and are being shuttled in by helicopter to assist with containment.
Twenty miles to the southwest, a team of eight smokejumpers and multiple aircraft are attacking the 20-acre Winter Trail Fire (#194). That fire is located approximately 16 miles northeast of Fairbanks and about three-quarters of a mile north of Fort Knox Gold Mine. It is located between Last Chance Creek and Iowa Creek and there is no road access.
Smokejumpers reported the fire to be estimated 20 acres as of 9:45 p.m. The fire is burning in black spruce. They described fire behavior as smoldering with isolated tree torching. Firefighters were working to cut trees down around the fire perimeter to create a fuel break.
Three water-scooping planes, a helicopter and an air tanker have been dropping water and retardant on and around the fire periodically while alternating back and forth between the Haystack Fire.
The causes of both fires are undetermined at this time and are under investigation.