Watch this flyover of the remote Kwethluk Fire (#012) narrated by mapping specialist and DOF’s Southwest Area Aviation Foreman Matt Snyder. This four plus minute video was recorded yesterday with the fire estimated to be over 4,048 acres and growing in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. The fire is of unknown origin, is being driven by light winds, and there are no threats to allotments, cabins or other infrastructure at this time. The fire 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 may be viewed here: https://youtu.be/53hhRqERgrI
After returning from this flight yesterday, firefighter Snyder, based at the DOF station in McGrath, noted that he anticipates that the fire “will keep growing as small spotfires are being carried by the wind… but as it spreads the fire is running into natural barriers including ice, snow and rivers.” Snyder noted that “the fire will likely hold [stop moving] 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 10 mph 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.
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