Aggie Creek Fire north of Fairbanks draws large response

fire burns behind trees
Smoke rises from the Aggie Creek Fire on Wednesday evening, June 15, 2022. (James Lilly/Alaska Division of Forestry)

A wildfire off the Elliot Highway north of Fairbanks is drawing a large response.

According to the Alaska Division of Forestry, the Aggie Creek Fire was started Wednesday night by a lightning strike about 4 miles southwest of Mile 28 of the Elliot Highway, southwest of Wickersham Dome.

“Burning pretty actively, moving to the north, casting spots out ahead of it,” said Sam Harrell, an information officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Harrell said a full-on aerial assault was directed at the estimated 100-acre blaze.  

“Called in all the forces out of Fairbanks that they could get,” he said. “Couple of retardant tankers responded, couple of fire bosses, additional helitack was called in, two loads of smokejumpers were deployed onto the fire.”

Harrell said aircraft including the retardant tankers continued to work the fire Thursday, trying to keep in check.

“They were working hard to secure an anchor point on the heel of the fire,” he said. “Then the crew can work from that anchor point and go up each flank and kind of start to pinch off the fire.”   

Elsewhere in the region, lightning also sparked a new wildfire off the Steese Highway, 28 miles north of Fox, Wednesday afternoon. A helicopter crew responded and found less than one acre smoldering and rain falling.              

Two other new wildfires, one of unknown cause west of Manley Hot Springs, and a second human-caused blaze along the Elliot Highway southwest of Livengood were also responded to late Wednesday. Both were reported to be less than an acre and smoldering as of late Wednesday night.

The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center on Thursday reported a total of 90 active fires burning across the state.

RELATED: Alaska never saw large tundra fires like the East Fork Fire until climate change provided more fuel

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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