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.
Chena Hot Springs
With warmer weather in the forecast for the next several days, local residents, motorists on Chena Hot Springs Road visitors to Chena Hot Springs and recreationalists in the Chena River State Recreation Area should expect to see visible smoke from the interior of the fire until there is significant rainfall.
There were 119 personnel assigned to the fire as of Thursday morning but that number will shrink in the next few days as resources time out or are demobilized. The tentative plan is to downsize from a Type 3 to a Type 4 organization on Saturday. One crew, 6 engines, 1 helicopter and a small number of overhead personnel will remain to monitor the fire from the road and air.
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.
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.
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.