A new wildfire from this weekend is burning in the Kilbuck Mountains, 20 miles northwest of Wood Tikchik State Park. The fire is 637 acres of burning tundra. The fire will not be fought unless it threatens any structures or people.
3 fires in Southwest Alaska are threatening the communities of Crooked Creek, Lime Village, and Stony River. Lime Hills, the largest fire in the state at 170 thousand acres, has 2 crews, about 80 people working the fire. 8 new smokejumpers dropped yesterday east of the community. Francis Mitchell is with the state division of forestry.
"They are doing contingency planning for any fire that might spot across the river, upriver, east of the village, in case that should happen. Right now there is no fire on the south side of the Stoney River. The fire has been moving primarily to the north, but also eastward," said Mitchell.
Lime Village is located across the river from the fire. The blaze has encroached within a half mile of the community in the past week and could cross the river to the community.
"If we got hot dry weather, and the winds shifts to the north it's certainly possible, because the fire can spot way ahead, embers can spot way ahead of where the fire is," said Mitchell.
The Moose Creek fire, near the community of Stony River is now 50 percent contained at 19 acres. It’s in full protection status: 22 crewmembers intend to stay on the fire until it is out.
"It's only about 7 miles from the village, if there was a wind shift with a strong wind from the north, and the fire started jumping it could definitely be a threat to the village. Because the current location of the fire now is in dense black spruce, which is a very volatile fuel. Certainly the village could be threatened. That's the primary reason the crew is there trying to put the fire out while it's that small ," said Mitchell
Near the Kuskokwim river, 2 fires burn near the village of Crooked Creek.
"Those other two fires have a total of 100 people on them, working to put the fires out. They've been making good progress, but there's still a number of hotspots within the periphery. They've kept them from growing bigger. The two fires total 228 acres," said Mitchell.
The fire in Lake Clark National Park has burned more than 2400 acres and scorched a small runway. The four member Helitack team from McGrath is providing point protection at cabins near the fire and 8 new smoke jumpers dropped yesterday.
To date, 327 fires have burned more than 447 thousand acres across the state.