Lightning Causing New Wildfires

Smoke settled over Fairbanks today due to numerous area wildfires.  New fires have been cropping up following a rash of lightning Sunday, and continued hot, dry weather. Among new local fires being fought is a lightning caused blaze north of Chena Hot Springs road.  Fire Information Officer Pete Buist says retardant drops and ground crew got to the Anaconda Creek blaze quickly Tuesday night.

Buist says two other Fairbanks area fires were also caught early, while a larger one farther out Chena Hot Spring Road is being allowed to burn in a remote area. Meanwhile, work continues on the Hastings fire, north of the Chatanika River. Information officer Sarah Sarloos says southwest winds have grown the fire to over 2,000 acres, but away from the area of most concern.

Southwest winds have also grown other area fire away from remote cabins and populated places. Information officer Sharon Roesch says there’s not much in the path of the 37,000 acre East Volkmar fire, north east of  Delta Junction.

Roesch says additional crews are being called in to bolster the 200 people already working the fire, doing structure protection in areas where there could be danger if the wind shifts.  Strong winds have also enlarged the interior region’s other big wild fire.  The Coal Creek fire, northeast of Healy, is now over 26,000 acres. Information officer Terry Anderson says structure protection work is focused on the fire’s north and west flanks off the 10 mile long Ferry Trail Road.

Anderson says lines have been holding, with the winds driving the Coal Creek fire northeast, out of the Alaska Range into remote country of the Tanana Valley.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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