The Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service (AFS) is fighting multiple fires in the Norton Sound region, including a major, 160-acre blaze near Unalakleet.
Beth Ipsen, a spokeswoman for AFS, says smokejumpers have successfully contained and controlled the South River Hills Fire about six miles east of Unalakleet; however, it is still considered active at this time.
That blaze was first reported by the Unalakleet Fire Chief around 1pm Sunday and was believed to have been caused by lightning. According to the Alaska Fire Service, the Darby Mountains Fire, 15 miles northwest of Koyuk, also started due to lightning.
A local resident reported that blaze yesterday morning; it had already burned mostly ten acres of tundra with spruce trees. Smokejumpers and water-scooping aircraft contained the fire at 20 acres by 5:30pm yesterday and plan to demobilize later today.
Ipsen says fire crews will mop up the hotspots before moving on, but since this is a relatively small blaze, they may just extinguish the entire Darby Mountains Fire.
No cabins or other structures have been damaged by these fires.
Image at top: “Fire Boss” aircraft and smokejumpers. Photo provided by the Alaska Fire Service (2019).