Fire activity has moderated around the state, freeing up crews and other resources as the Marten Creek Fire (#386) burning 10 miles northeast of Venetie transitions back into a Type 3 management organization today.
BLM Alaska Fire Service
The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.