Fire season lingers in the Yukon Flats while rain douses much of Alaska

For the second day in a row, two water-dropping airplanes worked the southern edge of the Marten Creek Fire (#386) Sunday to keep things cool ahead of the work firefighters are doing in the area. The Tanana Chief Crew Type 2 Initial Attack Crew (T2IA) will arrive in Venetie today before joining the Fairbanks-based White Mountain T2IA Crew near the fire’s perimeter. The goal is to secure a section on the southwest edge to limit the spread toward historical cabins four to six miles to the south and Venetie 10 miles to the southwest. The water-scooping Fire Boss airplanes are prepositioned in Fort Yukon and will likely be used again today.

Smoke driving up from edge of burned areas in the midst of green pockets of unburned vegetation.
The Marten Creek Fire (#386) is burning about 10 miles northeast of Venetie. Photo taken on Aug. 8, 2021 by Chris Bixby, BLM AFS

While most of Alaska is seeing a significant amount of rain, the Yukon Flats continues to experience sunny skies with minimal amounts of moisture. Two of the staffed fires in Alaska – the Marten Creek Fire and the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) burning about 30 miles northwest of Venetie – are in the Yukon Flats. The third, the 54,050-acre Munson Creek Fire near Fairbanks, has received a substantial amount of rain recently while the forecasted showers have not materialized in the Yukon Flats. However, the 60-degree weather, higher humidity levels and partial cloud cover is enough to temper fire behavior on both fires.

The Marten Creek Fire was smoldering and creeping and putting up white, whispy patches of smoke with mini-smoke columns on Sunday. This has allowed the Fairbanks-based White Mountain Crew to cut a saw line reaching from a nearby lake to the southeastern edge of the fire. They’ll extend that control line west along the fire’s south perimeter to a burned finger of land on the southwestern flank. 

Burned areas among patches of forest and tundra near rivers.
The Discovery Creek Fire is burning north of a Native allotment that is situated just south of the confluence of the North Fork of the East Fork of the Teedriinjik (Chandalar) River (on the right) and a dry creek bed named the Chekhechunnjik Creek (in middle). The heel of the fire is nearest where the dry creek and river meet. Firefighters cut a straight saw line on the west and south sides of the allotment (the straight lines on the right) and conducted a burn operation to protect the Native allotment (burned area to left of the saw line). The small areas of smoke is where the fire is hung up in a patch of white spruce trees by the dry creek bed. Photo by Chris Bixby, BLM AFS.

Meanwhile, the Discovery Creek Fire has a mixture of BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook Fire Crew working to protect a Native allotment at the confluence of the Chekhechunnjik Creek and the North Fork of the East Fork of the Teedriinjik (Chandalar) River. Smokejumpers and the Nanook Crew will be busy mopping up the fire’s edge. Fire behavior moderated significantly on Sunday as it was reportedly smoldering with some creeping along the edge in some places. The southern area closest to the allotment was quiet. The fire is held up in white spruce along the northern edge of the allotment near the Chekhechunnjik Creek. Firefighters will monitor this area with a drone and wait to see what weather Mother Nature bestows on the fire area.

Scattered showers and slightly cooler temperatures are forecasted for the next couple of days starting this evening. The light, northerly winds will switch to out of the southeast today and increase a bit tomorrow.

FireCauseStart DateEstimated AcresPersonnel Assigned
Marten CreekLightningJuly 252,66250
Discovery CreekLightning  July 264,52728

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


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

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