Predicted showers have not materialized over the fire areas as prolonged dry conditions and sunny skies instigated increased fire behavior on the Marten Creek and Discovery Creek fires Monday.
AK Fire Info
While most of Alaska is seeing a significant amount of rain, the Yukon Flats continues to experience sunny skies with minimal amounts of moisture. Two of the staffed fires in Alaska – the Marten Creek Fire and the Discovery Creek Fire burning about 30 miles northwest of Venetie – are in the Yukon Flats.
The fire received rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the heaviest rainfall reported on Sunday. As of Monday morning, a remote automated weather station near the fire had received 1.2 inches of precipitation since Friday.
The fire received what Peterson described as “solid rain” Friday but that along won’t be enough to put it out. It will require substantial rain to put the fire out. Nonetheless, the cooler, wetter weather will retard fire behavior and keep the fire from acting up like it had been during the hot, dry weather earlier this week.
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.
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.