Start Date: 06/18/2021 Location: 52 miles E of Fairbanks, AK
Cause: Lightning Fire Size: 36,609 acres
Containment: 0% Total Personnel: 206
Fire crews have identified, triaged and placed sprinkling equipment where needed on more than 70 structures along Chena Hot Springs Road or at Chena Hot Springs Resort and four more along the Middle Fork Chena River to keep them safe from the 36,609-acre Munson Creek Fire. No structures have been damaged or destroyed. The fire surrounded but did not burn the State Parks trail shelter on the Angel Rocks to Chena Hot Springs Trail.
The Hunt Memorial Cabin and other structures along the south side of road within the Chena River Recreation Area have been protected by reducing fuel and installing sprinkler systems where needed. Crews continue to locate, identify and determine protection needs for cabins and homes on the north side of Chena Hot Springs Road from Mile 42-56.
Cool, damp weather has allowed firefighters to hold the fire behind a line from Bear Paw Butte to the aurora viewing building on the south side of the resort. Crews are mopping up the line to remove heat and fuel.
On the western edge, a helicopter repeatedly ferried and dumped 300-gallon buckets of water on the fire to slow the expansion toward Chena Hot Springs Road. The eastern and southern edges of the fire were not as active but are expected to keep expanding. Firefighters on the Middle Fork are being moved by helicopter between locations to provide structure protection as needed at remote sites and mining camps. Firefighter safety is the top priority, and fire managers are evaluating risk versus reward to determine where to place firefighters on a daily basis.
Fire behavior has diminished recently but managers are waiting to see how it responds when warmer weather returns. The “Go” level evacuation order from Mile 48 to Chena Hot Springs at Mile 56.5 that’s still in effect is being re-evaluated daily to determine when it can be safely lifted. The western edge of the fire remains about 1 mile south of Chena Hot Springs Road.
About 200 people are assigned to the fire, and firefighters are strategically positioned to protect structures, cabins and homes in the area if the fire moves close enough to threaten.
As is the case with most wildland fires, aerial surveys have shown that unburned pockets of vegetation remain within the perimeter of the Munson Creek Fire, producing a mosaic of vegetative types needed to support a variety of wildlife species. Although displaced for a while, most wild animals are not harmed by wildland fire.
FIREWISE: Cabin and home owners are encouraged to protect their property. Firewise tactics are listed at: http://forestry.alaska.gov/Assets/pdfs/home/firewise09.pdf
CLOSURES: All Alaska State Parks facilities east of milepost 45 Chena Hot Springs Road are closed, including theAngel Rocks Trail and trailhead and Chena Dome Trail and trailhead.
TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTION: A TFR is in effect surrounding the fire including drones. For more information check https://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.jsp?p=list&type=all&sort=s&up=Y