Work progresses on a pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats as cloud cover and a sprinkle of rain kept fire behavior subdued Sunday. Update on the Marten Creek and Discovery Creek fires for Aug. 2, 2021.
Active Wildland Fire
Shortly after taking off from Venetie just before 3 p.m. Saturday, firefighters spotted what initially seemed like smoke from a campfire. The initial six firefighters were able to contain the Tinjikvun Fire (#396) by 4:30 p.m. Afterwards, 10 BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star firefighters were pulled from constructing an indirect fire break around Venetie to help extinguish any remaining hot spots.
Work continues on the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) as fire season lingers in northeastern Alaska. Firefighters managing efforts on the Marten Creek Fire burning about 13 miles east of Venetie will meet with community members today for input on plans to construct fuel breaks around the village.
Fire behavior moderated on the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) in the Yukon Flats Wednesday as firefighters remain busy preparing for today’s warmer, drier weather. Firefighters reported both fires received a light dusting of rain Wednesday that likely didn’t elevate the dry conditions in the deeper ground layers. With the weather forecast returning to breezy, drier conditions today, firefighters anticipate more activity as the fires burn through black spruce trees in the area.
The BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star Crew mobilized to Venetie today to help take steps to clean up an old fire break around the village to protect it from the Marten Creek Fire (#386) burning about 13 miles to the east. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook Fire Crew will head north to help smokejumpers working on the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) burning in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles northwest of Venetie.
Fort Yukon and Venetie will see an influx of firefighting personnel in the next couple of days to work on wildfires burning in northeastern Alaska. Parts of the Yukon Flats may see some scattered precipitation in the area a couple of days. A drying trend will return in Eastern Alaska on Thursday.
Driven by wind and exceptionally dry fuels, the fire grew exponentially on Sunday despite an aggressive aerial response. with growth primarily on the north edge of the fire into what fire managers described as a “sea of black spruce” that has not burned in 30 years.
The reduced fire activity due to the rain prompted fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry to recommend reducing the evacuation level for homes and cabins along the end of Chena Hot Springs Road from a “Set” to a “Ready” effective immediately. The Fairbanks North Star Borough announced the reduced evacuation status at 2 p.m. Monday.
The fire burned up to and around the cabin but firefighters arrived in time to extinguish the flames before they ignited the cabin.
There were two lightning strikes recorded in the area, including one in close proximity to where the fire started on the edge of the Haystack Fire perimeter. The fire origin was located in a green finger of unburned vegetation between a four-wheeler trail and a dozer line constructed for the Haystack Fire.