Wetting rains fell on the pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats, but the drier weather is forecasted to return in the upcoming days. Despite the moisture that significantly moderated fire behavior on Thursday, it is not enough to put the Marten Creek and Discovery Creek fires out. However, it did significantly quell fire activity and gave 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 before drier weather returns as forecasted. Fire spread on both fires has been minimal as fire managers assess how the weather forecast could affect work on the ground.
The Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack (T2IA) crew and the Tanana Chiefs T2IA Fire Crew are about 50 % done with a direct containment line along the southern edge of the Marten Creek Fire (#386). The direct containment line is progressing westward along the southern edge and around the tip of a finger closest to the village of Venetie about 10 miles to the southwest. 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.
The Discovery Creek Fire (#388) 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 concentrating most of their work on building a direct control line stretching from the southwest corner of the allotment along the edge between the Coal Creek drainage and the allotment.
Firefighters on both fires are considering enlisting either the water-scooping Fire Boss aircraft or a helicopter to drop water to help cool the fire’s edge ahead of them while they work. Firefighters have also used a drone to pinpoint areas of heat along the southern edge of the Marten Creek Fire where it’s burning in peat.
According to the National Weather Service, a westerly flow pattern will keep conditions cool with periods of rain through the weekend. Conditions will be generally dry through Saturday with significant rain predicted to move in from the west on Sunday. Winds are predicted to be a bit breezy and out of the southwest. Humidity levels are expected to remain high to help keep curb fire behavior.
These are the only two staffed fires in the state as the season-ending southwest flow of cooler, wetter weather has moved in throughout Alaska. The Yukon Flats continues to be the last hold out for fire activity as rains have not saturated the ground in the two fire areas like elsewhere in the state.
|Fire||Cause||Start Date||Estimated Acres||Personnel Assigned|
|Marten Creek||Lightning||July 25||2,662||45|
|Discovery Creek||Lightning||July 26||7,696||25|