Work continues on the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) as fire season lingers in northeastern Alaska. Firefighters managing efforts on the Marten Creek Fire burning about 13 miles east of Venetie will meet with community members today for input on plans to construct fuel breaks around the village. The BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star Crew is already clearing out brush on an indirect fire break established around the northeastern side of the village in 2004. Fire managers plan on improving this existing control line and utilizing existing barriers such as roads to extend the fire break to help protect Venetie from this and future wildfires.
Meanwhile, three smokejumpers cleared burnable vegetation from around a historical cabin southwest of the fire. They’ll take similar action on two other historical cabins that are 4.5 to six miles from the fire. In total, 35 firefighting personnel are assigned to this fire, working in support of firefighting efforts either in Venetie or 45 miles away in Fort Yukon.
While the western half of the state continues to receive substantial amounts of rain, Eastern Alaska remains the last hold out for fire season. Today’s weather is predicted to be even drier than Thursday with a gusty southwesterly wind that will subside overnight. Firefighters reported the Discovery Creek Fire burning about 30 miles northwest of Venetie received quite a bit of rain Thursday that significantly subdued the 736-acre fire burning on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There was no visible activity on the fire that is burning in a mixture of black and white spruce and tussock tundra. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook Fire Crew started constructing a saw line around a Native allotment directly threatened by the fire. Smokejumpers will continue to mop up a burn operation conducted in the initial response to protect the allotment.
The Marten Creek Fire area did not receive rain on Thursday and was most active to the north with minimal creeping to the east and northeast. Firefighters anticipate more activity with the drier, breezy weather as these fires burn through spruce and tundra in the area.
All three staffed fires in Alaska fall within the BLM AFS Upper Yukon Fire Management Zone that encompasses 51.9 million acres in northeastern Alaska. The third – the Cultas Creek Fire burning in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve about 50 miles northwest of Eagle – has a mixture of National Park Service and AFS firefighters protecting historical cabins threatened by the 37,751-acre fire.
|Fire||Cause||Start Date||Estimated Acres||Personnel Assigned|
|Marten Creek||Lightning||July 25||624||35|
|Discovery Creek||Lightning||July 26||736||28|