Firefighters continue mopping up burned areas, constructing control lines and inventorying structures on the north side of Chena Hot Springs Road in preparation for warmer, drier weather expected to impact the Munson Creek Fire in the next three days.
Fire activity on the 36,609-acre fire near Chena Hot Springs approximately 50 miles east of Fairbanks has moderated in recent days with cooler, wetter weather. With the lull in activity, crews have seized the opportunity to better secure the fire’s edge directly south of Chena Hot Springs Resort where it came closest to the resort complex. However, there are still areas where the fire could move north and threaten the resort along with cabins and homes along the south side of Chena Hot Springs Road.
A continuing warming trend is forecast through the weekend before a dry cold front approaches Monday. It will pass over the fire area Tuesday, bringing hot and windy conditions with highs in the upper 70’s and west winds in the 15-25 mph range.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy visited the fire on Friday, receiving a briefing from Incident Commander Zane Brown on the progress crews are making. The governor expressed concern that the fire could kick up again with the forecasted winds. “In case that happens, we’re ready for it,” Brown told the Governor.
There are 206 personnel working on the fire, including five crews. Today, crews will continue to mop up the fire’s edge south of Chena Hot Springs Resort from Bear Paw Butte past the resort Aurorium and on east towards the end of the airstrip. The goal is to create a secure control line along the entire south side of the complex between the fire and the resort.
Firefighters have installed pumps, hose and sprinklers around 94 structures on the south side of Chena Hot Springs Road between Mile 42 and the resort at Mile 56.5. Twenty-six of those structures are part of the resort complex and 68 are cabins along the road, including a handful of structures within the Chena River State Recreation Area. Crews have also identified 50 cabins and homes on the north side of the road that could require protection should the fire act up. Firefighters are continuing to map structures up the West and North forks of the Chena River farther off the road.
The “Go” level evacuation order from Mile 48 to Chena Hot Springs at Mile 56.5 still in effect is being reevaluated 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.
FIREWISE: Cabin and homeowners 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/.