The BLM Alaska Fire Service is wrapping up work on a pair of Yukon Flats fire this week as the days get shorter, cooler and wetter. With work reaching completion, equipment and firefighting personnel will be pulled from both the Marten Creek Fire (#386) and the Discovery Creek Fire (#388) on Wednesday.
Discovery Creek Fire
Wetting rains fell on the pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats, but the drier weather is forecasted to return in the upcoming days. Despite the moisture that significantly moderated fire behavior on Thursday, it is not enough to put the Marten Creek and Discovery Creek fires out.
The rainfall predicted for several days finally arrived on the pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats. However, the forecasted amount is not likely to put out the Discovery Creek and Marten Creek Fires.
There was an uptick in fire behavior on the pair of fires burning in the Yukon Flats Tuesday as firefighters continue to work to protect Native allotments, historical cabins and the village of Venetie. The fire activity has been building for three days in a row due to the sunshine, temperatures in the 60s and lack of rain.
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.
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 two water-dropping airplanes worked the southwestern edge of the fire Saturday while the Alaska Division of Forestry White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew arrived in Venetie to begin work on the Marten Creek Fire (#386).
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.