Firefighters prepare for drier, hotter weather on Dry Creek Fire

Marshy ground with a hose lay along a saw line with firefighters working on the line.
This week, the North Star Fire Crew worked on a fuel break to protect a Native allotment from the Dry Creek Fire that is burning to the west of the Zitziana River. This property was on the east side of the river and south of the Tanana River The firefighters on the ground in bright orange hard hats are members of the North Star Crew. Photo by Trent Girard, USFS

Firefighters are wrapping up work to make sure fire control lines help keep the more than 51,000-acre Dry Creek Fire (#195) in check during the hotter, drier weather predicted to start this weekend. Fire managers don’t expect significant fire growth despite the warmer weather thanks the firefighters’ hard work and the Zitziana River to the east and an area burned in 2018 to the southwest.

Burned blackened area with a hose running between them.
The Chena Hotshots constructed a direct control line to keep the northwestern edge of the Dry Creek in check. Photo by Trent Girard, USFS.

The draw down of people working on the fire will continue with the 20-person BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star Fire Crew scheduled to go back to Fairbanks Monday. In the meantime, they will finish work started by the BLM AFS Chena Hotshots on a direct fire control line to northwest side between the Pike and No Name sloughs. Firefighters also constructed a fire break in patch of black spruce trees on the northeast corner of the fire near the Zitziana River. The stringer of black spruce was identified as an area where if fire gets established, could cross the river and spread through black spruce to the east of the river. Firefighters kept busy during days of cooler, damper weather to ensure this doesn’t happen. Fire managers suspect the fire area got about a half an inch or less of rain in the past couple of day to help firefighters with work on the ground. The fire has been creeping and smoldering in small patches – mostly near the control lines in the northwest and northeast corners.

The North Star Fire Crew used a chain saw to cut a fuel break to protect a Native allotment to the east of the Zitziana River. Photo by Trent Girard, USFS.

With the exception of two small fires that spotted over the Zitziana River to the northeast on July 3, the twisty river with its adjacent hardwood trees and marshy areas has successfully kept the fire to the west. Smokejumpers quickly extinguished those two small spot fires and have been patrolling the area in case this happens again. The fire remains to the south of the Tanana River.

Firefighters are also pulling some gear from the field, but keeping other equipment left in place in some areas in case the property closest to the fire needs to be protected. This way, firefighters can quickly mobilize and turn on the pumps and hoses that are strung along some of the sawed fireline that were put in place to protect the nearest properties on the south side of the Tanana.

  • Forested area with a few black burned areas.
  • Blackened area among a forest.

The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) remains in place for the fire area due to the need to advise aviators of the increased firefighting aircraft in and around the Manley Hot Springs airport (PAML). Firefighting aircraft are monitoring the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) of 122.8. We ask aviators in the area to please monitor PAML CTAF, report their position, keep eyes peeled and ears tuned in for air traffic in the area. There are several aircraft in this area– helicopters , airplanes and Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones – helping with firefighting efforts. The NOTAM is for the airspace 10 nautical miles (NM) southwest to southeast from PAML, up to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Geographically speaking from the airport, 10 NM downstream, 10 NM upstream of the Tanana River and the area south of the river up to 10 NM.

Start date: June 14Acres: 51,931Personnel assigned: 34Crews: 1Cause: Lightning

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or

Categories: Active Wildland Fire, AK Fire Info, BLM Alaska Fire Service

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