Smaller Type 4 team will take over Munson Creek Fire on Saturday

This will be the final daily update on the Munson Creek Fire. Future updates will be published as dictated by fire activity and information needs.

Start Date: 06/18/2021             Location: 52 miles E of Fairbanks, AK 

Cause: Lightning                       Fire Size: 41,092 acres

Containment: 8%                    Total Personnel: 92

Management of the Munson Creek Fire burning near Chena Hot Springs east of Fairbanks will transition to a smaller Type 4 organization effective at 8 a.m. Saturday.

With warmer weather in the forecast for the next several days, local residents, motorists on Chena Hot Springs Road visitors to Chena Hot Springs and recreationalists in the Chena River State Recreation Area should expect to see visible smoke from the interior of the fire until there is significant rainfall.

There was very little smoke visible on the hillside behind Chena Hot Springs Resort on Thursday. Crews gridded the fire perimeter east of Chena Hot Springs for hot spots and pulled hose that had been put in place to support a backfiring operation earlier this week.

The UAF Nanooks Crew grids for hotspots in an area Monument Creek on the Munson Creek Fire, Thursday, July 15, 2021. Ira Hardy/Alaska DNR-Division of Forestry
A member of the UAF Nanooks Crew cold trails a hotspot found whiie gridding in an area burned by the Munson Creek Fire above Monument Creek on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Ira Hardy/Alaska DNR-Division of Forestry

The 41,092-acre fire continues to spread and grow to the north and east, away from Chena Hot Springs and other values at risk. The bulk of the new growth is east of Far Mountain, where the fire is burning deeper into remote wilderness, and along the north side of the Middle Fork Chena River. Fire activity on the western perimeter closer to Chena Hot Springs Resort, cabins and homes along Chena Hot Springs Road remains minimal. The fire remains 1-3 miles east and south of the road between mileposts 45 and 56.5.

A ‘Set’ evacuation notice will remain in place for Chena Hot Springs resort and residents in cabins/homes along Chena Hot Springs Road between miles 48 and 56.5. Fire managers are evaluating the evacuation level daily with Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations staff.

Alaska State Parks facilities remain closed east of Mile 42 Chena Hot Springs Road, including the Angel Rocks, Chena Dome and Angel Creek Hillside trails, Hunt Memorial public-use cabin, North Fork public-use cabin and Red Squirrel Campground.

Firefighter Craig Davey removes a pump off the back of his engine on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Pumps like this were used for structure protection around cabins during the Munson Creek Fire. They are being staged in a safe area in case they are needed again. Ira Hardy/Alaska DNR-Division of Forestry

There were still 92 personnel assigned to the fire on Thursday but that number will drop to about 40 by the end of the weekend. Resources that will remain with the Type 4 organization to monitor the fire by road and from the air include one crew, six engines, one helicopter and a small number of overhead personnel.

Motorists along Chena Hot Springs Road should use caution driving in the area. There are still firefighters working along the highway corridor checking pumps, hoses and sprinklers set up around homes and cabins along the road. There are multiple hidden driveways along the road that could pose a risk to firefighters entering and exiting. Hoses and sprinklers set up around cabins and homes along the road between mileposts 42 to 55 will remain in place but firefighters will pull the pumps and store them in a safe location at the fire for security reasons. They will be re-installed, if necessary.

A Temporary Flight Restriction for aircraft and drones is in effect around the fire. Go to for more information. 

Categories: Active Wildland Fire, AK Fire Info

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