Firefighters are mopping up a 20-acre wildfire approximately 2 miles north of the Parks Highway near Mile 325 after a quick and aggressive aerial attack Sunday helped keep the fire in check until firefighters on the ground could be mobilized.
Thirty firefighters worked until late Sunday night to tame the Straight Creek Fire (#244) behind Skinny Dick’s bar. A team of 12 smokejumpers and the Yukon Type 2 Initial Attack Crew was flown in from the Haystack Fire north of Fairbanks to provide initial attack. A bulldozer was used to clear a fire a control line around the fire Sunday night. Firefighters will be setting up pumps and hose lines around the fire today to extinguish hot spots.
The team of 12 smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service who were initially deployed on the fire to provide initial attack will be released today to be available for any new fire starts across the state. The Fairbanks #1 Type 2 Crew will be shuttled to the fire today to join the suppression effort after completing work on the Winter Trail Fire north of Fairbanks.
The fire is believed to be a lightning-holdover from lightning strikes from thunderstorms in the area during previous days.
The fire was reported just after 3 p.m. Sunday by a helicopter returning to the Fairbanks Area Forestry station from the Haystack Fire north of Fairbanks. It was initially reported as a 5-acre fire burning in black spruce a 100 percent active perimeter and 4- to 5-foot flame lengths.
Multiple firefighting aircraft were launched from the Division of Forestry’s air tanker base at Fairbanks International Airport and the BLM Alaska Fire Service on Fort Wainwright. Water scooping planes and two helicopters made multiple water drops on the fire and two air tankers dropped retardant around three sides of the fire to fence it in. A creek drainage on the other side of the fire was also serving as a control line.
While the 927-acre Haystack Fire about 18 miles northeast of Fairbanks has garnered most of the attention since it started a week ago, Fairbanks Area Forestry is wrapping up work on several other small fires that started in the last week. Here’s a rundown of fires in the Fairbanks Area:
- Winter Trail Fire (#194) – 37 acres, located 14 miles NE of Fairbanks near Fort Knox Gold Mine. Lightning-caused fire that was reported June 14. There are 21 personnel assigned. Fire is 90% contained as of Monday morning and the Fairbanks #1 Type 2 hand crew will finish mopping up today and be flown to the Straight Creek Fire (#244) to assist with mop up and suppression on that fire.
- Minto Lakes Fire (#186) – 28 acres, located 48 miles W of Fairbanks near Minto Lakes. Lightning-caused fire that was reported June 13. Fire was declared out at 3:37 p.m. on Saturday and alll personnel were demobilized from the fire on Saturday.
- Munson Creek Fire (#235) – 2 acres, located 50 miles NE of Fairbanks and approximately 5 miles south of Chena Hot Springs Resort. Lightning-caused fire reported on June 18. Fire is burning in a Limited Protection Area and is being monitored by aircraft.