Crews, smokejumpers working on fires in Central Alaska

Map showing countless number of fire dots representing fires in Southwest and Central Alaska.
Map showing the fires burning in Southwest and Central Alaska on June 14, 2022.

The 40,000-acre Hog Butte Fire burning about 30 miles southwest of Lake Michumina and several fires in Southwest Alaska have produced the bulk of the smoke blanketing much of Alaska. The Hog Butte Fire is one of eight staffed in Alaska.  

The BLM Alaska Fire Service Midnight Sun Hotshots and four smokejumpers are working to protect Native allotments and permitted cabins from the Hog Butte Fire burning along the North Fork of the Kuskoswim River 30 miles southeast Lake Michumina in Central Interior Alaska. This lightning-caused fire started on June 5 and is burning in a limited management option area, which allows the fire to function in its natural ecological role as long as it’s not threatening any nearby sites of value.  

The Midnight Sun Hotshots are constructing a saw line on the west and north side of an allotment along the river on the east side of the fire. A riparian area with a lot of river and slough oxbows dot the south and east side of the allotment. BLM AFS Tanana Zone staff is monitoring and planning protection on a few other allotments in the area. 

The area north and east of the fire burned in 2015, which should slow the spread toward Lake Minchumina. The fire is burning in black spruce, tundra and mixed hard woods. 

The winds shifted from the northeast to the southwest on June 11, causing large fire growth and smoke that drifted to the northwest. Fire activity has since moderated. 

Aviators in the area may also see smoke from the nearby 23-acre Fish Creek Fire (#225), 12 miles to the east, or the 44-acre Hardscrabble Creek (#260) and 13-acre Rungun Creek (#186) fires, both to the south.  

Meanwhile, 12 smokejumpers deployed to the Batztao Lake Fire (#252) burning about 17 miles north of Hughes. The K-River 1 crew, a BLM Type 2 contract hand crew with assembly points in nearby Allakaket, Huslia and Hughes, joined the effort to put the fire out. A Type 1 hotshot crew coming up on Wednesday is also reserved for this fire.  

The fire was reported at about 80 acres with little activity or smoke. Smokejumpers are busy trying to get a control line around it, then will work with the crews to put the entire fire out. 

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

Map showing four fires in relationship to Lake Minchumina.
Map showing the Hog Butte Fire (#186), Fish Creek Fire (#225), the Hard Scrabble Creek Fire (#260) and the Rungun Creek Fire (#186).

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

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