Warmer temperatures and sunshine allowed the Munson Creek fire to become more active over the weekend as unburned pockets of spruce trees within the perimeter burned. More smoke was produced, but the perimeter of the fire did not expand significantly. Cool temperatures and higher humidity reduced fire activity overnight.
Incident Commander Kiel Nairns said the 18-member Yukon Crew assigned to the fire is monitoring it but will not be conducting suppression activities to extinguish it. Fire managers don’t anticipate the fire threatening the resort or cabins at the end of Chena Hot Springs Road but if the fire comes close, firefighters will conduct point protection efforts to protect structures.
Fire managers need to protect people and property, but support a natural fire regime when possible. Fire is an essential ecological process in the Boreal Forest ecosystem in Alaska needed to reduce fuels, create a mosaic of different habitat types and reduce future fire danger. Alaskan lands are assigned Critical, Full, Modified or Limited fire management options by the Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan. Fires that start in Full protection areas are initially attacked to protect people and valued property. Limited protection zones often contain few people or values, and fires starting there can be monitored and allowed to function in its natural role.
The fire is estimated at 329 acres with minimal activity, smoldering and isolated torching burning about 4 miles from Chena Hot Springs and about 1 mile south of the Angel Rocks to Chena Hot Springs Trail.
The Angel Rocks Trail remains open, but Alaska State Parks has closed the Angel Rocks to Chena Hot Springs Trail for public safety. Signs explaining the closure are posted at the Angel Rocks Trailhead and at Chena Hot Springs.
The Munson Creek fire was initially reported on June 18 as a 2-acre fire approximately 50 miles northeast of Fairbanks. Although very active last week, fire activity has been minimal over the weekend. Activity is expected to remain low with minimal spread over the next few days.