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Public Safety

Two fires discovered near Aleknagik and Wood-Tikchik State Park

Arcana Creek fire near Aleknagik
Ezra Butterfield
/
Alaska Division of Forestry
An aerial image of the Arcana Creek fire near Aleknagik, taken by smoke jumpers dispatched to help contain it.

Two lightning-caused fires were discovered around Aleknagik on Monday. The Arcana Creek fire is only 5 miles north of the village and has burned 13 acres as of Wednesday morning. The Kokwok River fire is much larger at over 1000 acres burned, however it is 33 miles away from the community, in Wood-Tikchik State Park.

Four smoke jumpers are on scene of the Arcana Creek fire. According to Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Jacob Welsh, that fire is a shallow burn.

“There's the potential for fire to spread and it didn't see any rain,” said Welsh. “There's a small marine layer that burned off early in the morning. Most of the days have been hot and dry out there. But it's not burrowing deep into the tundra or the duff layer.”

Welsh says the Arcana Creek fire is in a suppression area, meaning there are known structures and assets nearby. The crew has called for more supplies and hope to have it under control soon.

The Kokwok River fire, on the other hand, is in a low-suppression area. The Division of Forestry currently has no plans to send crews to control the fire, however they are monitoring the area by aircraft. Welsh said the Division of Forestry is relying on nearby creeks and rivers to keep the flames from spreading.

“At this point, there's limited to no values at risk and the low spread is likely,” he said.

Air quality is impacted around Bristol Bay from the two fires as well as the 7,000 acre fire in Katmai National Park and the Dillingham Landfill fire, which is still smoldering. The Dillingham Fire Department recommends the public close windows, wear an N-95 mask outside, and to stay indoors when possible.

N-95 masks are available at city hall and the boat harbor in the blue building near Tide Table. If you can’t get to one of these sites, you can call Dillingham Dispatch at (907) 842-5354 and a mask can be delivered.

A local burn ban is currently in effect in Dillingham in consideration of the recent hot and dry weather. With the lightning in the past week, fires are likely keep going. If you see a fire, report it as soon as possible by calling 911.

Contact the author at Brian@kdlg.org or by calling (907) 842-2200