Hard work by firefighters, observed fire behavior the last few days and a moderating weather forecast persuaded fire managers to recommend reducing the evacuation level, Incident Commander Zane Brown with the Alaska Division of Forestry said, adding that he feels “completely comfortable” doing so.
Active Wildland Fire
Incident Commander Zane Brown discusses a burnout operation along Monument Creek during the Munson Creek Fire on July 12, 2021. Ira Hardy/Alaska DNR-Division of Forestry
Forecasters are calling for another day of hot, dry conditions today with temperatures near 80 degrees and near Red Flag conditions this afternoon. Southwest winds of 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph are forecast over the fire area Tuesday night into Wednesday that could increase fire behavior. A cold front will push over the fire Wednesday, bringing cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and even a chance of rain.
After Wednesday, there will be no remaining firefighting personnel assigned to the approximately 50,000-acre fire in the field or at Manley Hot Springs. Instead, BLM Alaska Fire Service will keep a close eye on the fire with daily flights and manage it from Fairbanks to ensure none of the numerous sites firefighters have spent weeks working to keep safe are impacted.
Here’s a cool video showing an air tanker retardant drop on the Munson Creek Fire on Sunday. The air tanker had an old load of retardant that needed to be dumped so they dumped it on a section of the… Read More ›
So far, firefighters have been successful in steering the fire away from the Chena Hot Springs Resort and cabins and homes along Chena Hot Springs Road while allowing it to play its natural role on the landscape.
Yesterday, two helicopters made more than 110 water drops totaling almost 33,000 gallons of water on two parts of the fire, one in the northeast corner east of Chena Hot Springs Resort and one in the northwest corner west of Bearpaw Butte, said Munson Creek Fire helibase manager Tom Kennedy. The ships are busy doing bucket work in those two areas again today, he said.
Fire behavior will likely continue to escalate the next few days with temperatures forecast to climb into the upper 70s and relative humidities dropping into the 20 percent range. While the increased fire behavior is cause for a bit of concern for the nearly 200 firefighters working on the fire, it also shows fire managers where the main sources of heat remain on the fire and they can plan accordingly, Brown said.
A continuing warming trend is forecast through the weekend before a dry cold front approaches Monday. It will pass over the fire area Tuesday, bringing hot and windy conditions with highs in the upper 70’s and west winds in the 15-25 mph range.
Firefighters are wrapping up work to make sure fire control lines help keep the more than 51,000-acre Dry Creek Fire (#195) in check during the hotter, drier weather predicted to start this weekend. Fire managers don’t expect significant fire growth despite the warmer weather thanks the firefighters’ hard work and the Zitziana River to the east and an area burned in 2018 to the southwest.