Cool, moist weather dampens pair of Yukon Flats fires

Map of the Marten Creek Fire (#386) burning about 10 miles northeast of Venetie on Aug. 6, 2021.
Map of the Marten Creek Fire (#386) burning about 10 miles northeast of Venetie on Aug. 6, 2021. Click on map for PDF version.

A mixture of cool, moist weather has tempered the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and Discovery Creek Fire (#388) burning in the Yukon Flats, giving firefighters a reprieve from the dry conditions that significantly increased the size of the two fires in the past few days. The cooler weather is predicted through the weekend, allowing firefighters a chance to improve and hold fire lines to protect historical cabins, a Native allotment and the village of Venetie from the nearby large fires.

The wind on the Marten Creek Fire shifted around midday Thursday, pushing any fire growth predominately away from Venetie located about 10 miles to the southwest. Firefighters reported little overnight fire activity despite no rain falling on the area. The BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star Crew will spend the next few days improving the indirect fire lines built around the village of Venetie. Firefighters also finished putting together a structure and protection assessment for the village. Fire managers have a plan that, once the fire reaches a certain point in relation to Venetie and three historical cabins south of the fire, firefighters will take action to protect these cabins and the village.

Meanwhile, firefighters on the Discovery Creek Fire burning about 30 miles northwest of Venetie reported the fire was actively burning until about 2 a.m. Friday. About an hour later, a light rain started and increased to a steady rainfall as the morning progressed. Eight smokejumpers were dispatched to the fire Thursday to help with a burn operation on the west side of a Native allotment at the confluence of the Chekhechunnjik Creek and the North Fork of the East Fork of the Teedriinjik (Chandalar) River. The fire had crossed dry creek to the west and was moving south toward the allotment when firefighters decided to take action and deepen the protective buffer around the allotment. Smokejumpers and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook Fire Crew will take advantage of the weather to mop up the burn operation and widen a saw line on the south side of the allotment.

Despite the cooler weather, fire danger remains high in the Yukon Flats due to the extremely dry fuels in the area that would need a significant amount of wetting rain to moisten.  However, calmer winds and wetter weather will likely keep fire behavior subdued and allow firefighters to concentrate on fortifying fire breaks if the drier, hotter weather returns next week.

Contact Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or for more information.

FireCauseStart DateEstimated AcresPersonnel Assigned
Marten CreekLightningJuly 253,00032
Discovery CreekLightningJuly 262,53333

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

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