Sustained rainfall finally materializes on Yukon Flats fires

  • A firefighter walks a line in the forest cut by firefighters walking behind him.
  • Four firefighters walking along a two-track road next to a woody debris pile.
  • Three firefighters standing in the middle of a line cut through a forest.

The rainfall predicted for several days finally arrived on the pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats. Rain arrived late Wednesday morning to the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) burning about 30 miles northwest of Venetie and was still steadily falling this morning. The Marten Creek Fire (#386) was also getting sustained rainfall this morning to significantly moderate fire behavior. However, the forecasted amount of rain is not likely going to put the fires out. Still, it will give firefighters added time to construct and improve control lines, mop up burned areas and assess other work needed to protect a Native allotment, historical cabins and the village of Venetie.

The Division of Forestry’s White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack (T2IA) crew, which did some work on a fuel break around Venetie in its first few days on the fire, is working with the Tanana Chiefs T2IA Fire Crew to build a direct containment line along the southern edge of the Marten Creek Fire. They’ve completed about a mile of line starting with an indirect line anchored from a lake going to the fire perimeter. The direct containment line is progressing westward along the southern edge. The goal is to secure the southwest corner of the fire closest Venetie and to protect historical cabins four to six miles to the south and southeast. Fire managers said the fire was most active on this southern edge Wednesday. The fire’s edge is still about 10 miles northeast of Venetie.

Map of the Marten Creek Fire showing the containment line (in black) completed on the south edge of the fire.

The North Star Fire Crew demobilized Wednesday after finishing up cutting and clearing 3.4 miles of 30-foot wide fuel breaks around the village to protect it from the Marten Creek fire and from future fires. Work first started on improving an indirect fire break established around the northwestern end of Venetie in 2004. Then, with input from community members, new fire breaks were cut on the southeastern edge, then farther out between the dump and the new airstrip. The firewood cut during this endeavor was stacked along the fuel break for people in Venetie. Firefighters piled the left-over woody debris for disposal at a later date.

  • Three firefighters talking at a camp in front of a tent and an airplane.
  • A female firefighter standing in a tent while carrying two boxes.

Firefighters reported about .10 of rain has fallen on the Discovery Creek Fire since late Wednesday night. The fire has a mixture of BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook Fire Crew protecting a Native allotment at the confluence of the Chekhechunnjik Creek and the North Fork of the East Fork of the Teedriinjik (Chandalar) River. They are mopping up and securing fireline around the allotment as well as building a direct control line along the fire’s edge between the Coal Creek drainage and the allotment.

A southwest flow pattern over Interior Alaska is forecasted to keep the fire areas cool and wet through tonight, according to the National Weather Service. Then, slightly drier air moves in behind the front tonight then partial clearing Friday afternoon. Maximum temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s and high 50s, with high humidity levels and winds predominately out of the west and southwest, which should help push the Marten Creek Fire away from Venetie.

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

Fire Cause Start Date Estimated Acres Personnel Assigned 
Marten Creek Lightning July 25 2,66246
Discovery Creek Lightning July 26 7,69625


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

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