People in Manley Hot Springs will start to see additional firefighting resources in town as the BLM Alaska Fire Service starts to assess steps to protect a cabin and Native allotments from two fires burning south of the Tanana River. Neither the Dry Creek Fire (#195) or the nearby Zitziana River Fire (#197) were immediately threatening any known sites Tuesday. That could change as the hot, dry weather lingers in the area and the fires remain very active while burning through tundra and forested areas with mixture of black spruce and hardwood trees. A helicopter and fuel truck plus a handful of firefighting personnel will stage in Manley starting today with more likely joining them in the upcoming days.
The lightning-caused fires were reported Monday evening by people who could see the smoke columns from these very active fires burning about 7 miles south of Manley Hot Springs. The BLM AFS had originally ordered eight smokejumpers, water-scoopers and an air attack airplane to direct the aerial suppression effort, however, they were diverted to a fire burning in the Haystack Subdivision north of Fairbanks Monday evening.
Instead, firefighting personnel aboard two different flights flew over the two fires Monday evening to track fire activity and to calculate distances from any known sites of value. The Dry Creek Fire grew from an estimated 380 acres to about 600 acres in two hours Monday evening. Personnel aboard a plane flying the fires Tuesday morning reported the fires were still very active and burning in a southeastern direction. The Zitziana River Fire was estimated at 300 acres and the Dry Creek Fire was estimated at least 1,500 acres. The fires are quickly burning through tundra and black spruce, but slow down when they hit a section of hardwood trees. While Manley has the Tanana River as a fire break, there is at least one habitable cabin and several Native allotments on the south side of the river and to the north of the fire.
The fires are burning north of a large area burned in a 2018 fire. The new fires and the burned area are separated by the Zitziana River.
For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen (907)356-5511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.