A mixture of cool, moist weather has tempered the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and Discovery Creek Fire (#388) burning in the Yukon Flats, giving firefighters a reprieve from the dry conditions that significantly increased the size of the two fires in the past few days.
Active Wildland Fire
Firefighters demobilized Thursday from Cultas Creek fire still burning in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Firefighters demobilized from the Cultas Creek Fire Thursday after finishing up work to protect historical cabins in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve about 50 miles northwest of Eagle.
Two engines and Helitack from Mat-Su Area Forestry in Palmer responded, as well as multiple engines and water tenders from four local fire departments – Houston, Caswell, Talkeetna and Willow. With assistance from helicopter water drops, firefighters on the ground were able to quickly corral the fire and contain it to one-half acre.
The Big Boulder Fire (#416) was detected within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve on Thursday, August 5 via a satellite heat signature. Alaska Fire Service air attack airplane flew over the area later that morning and reported the fire to be 25 acres, 70% active, burning on a ridgetop in mixed spruce and hardwoods.
The 3,000-acre Salcha River 2 Fire about 65 miles east of Fairbanks and 15 miles southeast of the Munson Creek Fire is also putting up significant smoke due to increased activity caused by the record-setting heat wave that has broiled the Central and Eastern Interior in recent days. Northeast winds have been pushing smoke from the two fires into Fairbanks and the surrounding areas the past two days.
Both lightning-caused fires actively burned late into the night and saw significant gains in acreage over the past few days. The Marten Creek Fire is still about 10 miles northeast of Venetie, but doubled in size for the second day in a row.
Renewed activity on Munson Creek Fire prompts heightened evacuation level for residences at end of Chena Hot Springs Road
The heightened evacuation level is due to increased fire activity between Miles 52-54 of Chena Hot Springs Road, where the fire has crept to within one-quarter mile of some cabins and homes near Mile 53. The North Fork of the Chena River is between the fire and the structures but the proximity of the fire to the cabins and homes prompted fire managers to recommend raising the evacuation alert level.
A helicopter and two water-scooping aircraft were called in to make water drops on the Nenana Rail Fire while a small group of firefighters from the Fairbanks Area Forestry and the Nenana Volunteer Fire Department on the ground worked to contain it at 2 acres.
Northeasterly winds pushed Marten Creek Fire almost two miles closer to Venetie as it almost doubled in size. The prolonged hot, dry spell has dried out the vegetation to the point that firefighters witnessed it burn not only the normally receptive spruce trees and tundra grass, but hardwoods which typically have a higher moisture content.
The water bombers were scooping water from nearby Harding Lake, making for quick turnaround times. The four scoopers made a total 48 water drops on the fire totaling 33,600 gallons of water in a matter of two hours.