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Alaska Fire Service managing several fires around the Interior after reported lightning strikes

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Thunderstorms moving through the Alaska’s Interior have started several fires over the last 48 hours. Prompting an aggressive aerial response from the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service. The Alaska Division of Forestry Statewide Public Information Officer Tim Mowry, explained the situation in detail.

“Yesterday we had a lightning [strike that] caused [a] fire down about 11 miles southeast of Nenana. The Fish Creek Fire. About a half mile south of the Tanana river. And we dropped a load of smokejumpers in there, And we also had four water scooping aircraft from the Alaska fire service on fort wainwright, and they made multiple water drops on that fire, and really took the wind out of it, and knocked it down,” said Mowry.

The 21-man Fairbanks-based White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew, gridded the area effected by the Fish Creek Fire this morning, and found no dangerous hotspots, smoke, or heat. At approximately 6:00 p.m. Monday evening a thunder cell went across north Fairbanks, and resulted in multiple reports of another fire about 5 miles east of the Elliot highway, named the Pedro Fire.

“They just finished that fire down near Nenana and they brought them out there to that fire near Elliot and doused that again, multiple loads of water on that and pretty much put it to bed. They walked it and 1.2 acres is what they’re estimating. We’re in the process of gridding it today, didn’t find any smoke or heat signatures and I think in the process right now of hiking out to the road to demobilize, so that fire’s also pretty much taken care of,” said Mowry.

Motorists on the Dalton Highway driving north of the Yukon River bridge crossing may observe smoke emanating from a third lightning-caused fire currently burning 12 miles west of Milepost 83, about 130 miles north of Fairbanks.

“That is a 150 acre fire that’s burning in grass and tundra to the west of the highway,” said Elizabeth Ipsen, Spokesperson for Borough of Land Management Alaska Fire Service. “And it’s not threatening anything of value, there’s no buildings, it’s about 13 miles off the road, so we took a look at it, flew over in an airplane, and decided okay we’re just gonna let it burn, and let it function in it’s natural ecological role.”

Two additional fires are currently burning in the White Mountain National Recreational Area within three miles of a BLM public use cabin. According to Ipsen, these fires are not immediately threatening to anything, but as they are early season fires, 8 smokejumpers have been sent in.

“They’re both 10 acres in size. Neither one of them are active, these both are early season fires, they’re about 22 miles north of Fairbanks,” said Ipsen.

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