Several fires sprang up on the Seward Peninsula yesterday after the Alaska Fire Service correctly predicted lightning would spark new blazes in the area. Some of them have already been contained.
According to this morning’s report from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there were 64 active wildfires across the state, up from 37 at the beginning of the week. Five of those new blazes popped up on the Seward Peninsula as a result of lightning strikes, mostly near White Mountain.
40 miles up the Fish River from White Mountain, a ten-acre fire was burning in tundra and spruce trees after 10pm last night. According to Dan Harrelson, the community’s VPSO, volunteer fire fighters from White Mountain had the blaze under control and potentially extinguished earlier today. However, the Alaska Fire Service had the Fish River fire still listed as active as of 6am.
Three other active wildfires north of White Mountain are all in limited protection areas and are being monitored, including the Paragon River fire.
The fifth new blaze on the Seward Peninsula is the Macklin fire. It’s burning an area of about 30 acres south of Shishmaref and was also discovered yesterday after 3pm. This blaze is in a limited protection area and AFS says it will be monitored.
A new fire from yesterday that has already been contained, sparked up near Coffee Dome, north of Nome’s Kougarok Road. The AFS reported that 20-acre fire last night after 7pm and within three hours had worn it down with eight smokejumpers. There was reportedly mining equipment in the area within a modified protection zone. AFS says they plan to move their crew off of that fire tomorrow.
Both the Chiroskey and North Fork River fires near Unalakleet are considered contained at this time. They were first discovered over the weekend after an initial thunder and lightning storm in the region.
Separately, a new fire along Old Woman River 30 miles east of Unalakleet was discovered last night. The Alaska Fire Service says this is a limited fire of about 3 acres smoldering in black spruce trees and tundra. They will continue to monitor this blaze.
Image at top: A view of the Norton Sound region, and Golovin off in the distance, as seen from the top of White Mountain. Photo from KNOM file.