The remote #KwethlukFire has doubled in size to 4,048 acres, according to DOF Southwest Area Aviation Foreman and mapping specialist Matt Snyder. The third surveillance flight since Saturday occurred this afternoon with Snyder continuing the process of mapping and documenting this early season wildfire. The fire is of unknown origin, is wind driven, and there are no threats to allotments, cabins or other infrastructure at this time. The fire, burning in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, is located 25 miles east southeast of Kwethluk, 34 miles southeast from Bethel, and 35 miles southeast of Napakiak. A flyover video from Sunday April 17th is located here: https://youtu.be/53hhRqERgrI
Based at the DOF station in McGrath, firefighter Snyder stated this afternoon that the fire “will keep growing as small spotfires are being carried by the wind into dry tundra and grasses, but as it spreads the fire is running into natural barriers including ice, snow and rivers. As of this afternoon, the east flank of the fire has been stopped by the Akulikutak River. The west flank is burning in receptive light fuels between creeks and other natural barriers.” Snyder noted that “the fire will likely hold on natural barriers at the base of Three Step Mountain. The fire will continue to burn in grass fuel on the southwest perimeter where continuous receptive fuels allow.” At the time of these observations, the winds were out of the east at 5 to 10mph with 90% cloud cover and a temperature of 40F. Flame lengths were noted to be five feet tall with smoldering, creeping and backing fire behavior. Tundra, grass and brush are burning on mostly flat terrain. There has not been precipitation in this area for several days.
Values at risk include native allotments one mile to the northeast, 2.3 miles to the southeast, 3.3 miles to the west, and the Kwethluk Fish Weir approximately 5 miles to the west southwest. An additional surveillance flight will take place this week as needed and firefighters will continue to monitor both satellite heat sensors and FAA Weather Aviation cameras in Kwethluk, Bethel and Napakiak for any activity.
We will provide additional updates as they become available. Fire information for the State of Alaska is also available at https://akfireinfo.com, the statewide wildfire information blog.
As a reminder, burn permits are required from April 1 through August 31. You can pick up a burn permit online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or pick them up at your local forestry office and at many local fire departments.
#FireYear2022 #AlaskaWildfire #2022AlaskaFireSeason