Coal Creek Fire Grows to 3,000 Acres

One of two wildfires burning east of Healy has grown substantially, and could start sending smoke toward Fairbanks.   The Coal Creek Fire is mapped at 3,000 acres, burning in mixed hardwoods and black spruce, about 15 miles northeast of Healy.  The fire is in a limited suppression area and has been allowed to burn, but state fire information officer Terry Anderson says concern about remote structures has prompted a reconnaissance mission.

Anderson says fire growth and smoke are issues as hot dry weather persists.

No mass suppression efforts are planned, but Anderson says there may be pointed responses for isolated private properties and mining operations.

Anderson says the Coal Creek Fire started last Saturday, the same day the nearby Francis Creek blaze ignited, closer to the Parks Highway and Usibelli Coal Mine. A lot of work has gone into the Francis Creek Fire to keep it from moving west into populated areas.  Spontaneous combustion of coal seams is the suspected cause of both fires.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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