Red flag conditions in parts of Alaska, with warnings for campers and ATVs
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Major new wildfires have erupted in Alaska, where about 13,000 acres of forest and brush land have burned in just the past few days. Additionally, a 1,300 acre wildfire is burning in the southern Sierra Nevada of California, near Lake Isabella.
Red flag warnings are in effect in parts of Alaska due to dry weather and warm temperatures. Fire officials said hot mufflers on ATVs have caused a few grass fires, and officials are asking campers to be very cautious with their campfires.
The lightning-sparked East Volkmar Fire is burring in black spruce and hardwood forests northeast of Delta Junction. The fire was discovered May 26 and 92 firefighters are working to build containment lines at the fire’s western edge. The fire is making swift runs, as well as crowning and torching in dry forest areas. Temperatures are in the upper 60s, with relative humidity around 40 percent.
The largest fire in Alaska is the Coal Creek Fire, burning in a limited protection zone. No suppression efforts are under way, with the fire being monitored by the Fairbanks Forestry department. Two firefighters will do site-specific protection for structures located at the fire’s perimeter.
The Coal Creek Fire is burning in black spruce, tundra, hardwood and brush-type fuels, with extreme fire behavior, including 100-foot flames, reported. As of May 28, temperatures were reaching as high as 70 degrees with a relative humidity of just 26 percent. More Coal Creek fire photos are online here.
The Francis Creek Fire has burned within a 2,000-acre area of mixed spruce, alder, birch forests and brush, with some torching and crowning on the fire’s interior. The fire is about 80 percent contained.
The Moose Mountain Fire was reported as fully contained May 28 after burning about 860 acres near Fairbanks. The human-caused fire burned in mixed forests with temperatures in the area soaring to around 80 degrees and a relative humidity of 18 percent.
The Cove Fire, in California’s Sequoia National Forest was attacked by 475 firefighters working in high winds to keep the fire from moving farther east and to the north of Highway 178. The required temperer evacuation orders for several communities in the area that have since been lifted. The fire is holding at about 1,300 acres and is 45 percent contains.
Images of the Cove Fire are online here.