New Fires Ignite Near Healy Lake

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Lightning ignited two new wildfires east of Delta Junction Tuesday night.

Smoke columns from Healy Lake wildfires Tuesday night. CREDIT ALASKA DIVISION OF FORESTRY
Smoke columns from Healy Lake wildfires Tuesday night.
CREDIT ALASKA DIVISION OF FORESTRY

Fairbanks-Delta area state fire management officer Ed Sanford says the blazes near the small community of Healy Lake resulted from numerous lightning strikes that hit a swath of Alaska. He says air tankers were deployed on the fires, but they were growing too aggressively to knock down.

“We could not catch it, so we went into what we call point protection, so we have 16 smoke jumpers out there with some boats, setting up sprinkler systems and protecting the cabins out there,” Sanford said.

Sanford says there are about 50 structures, including many recreational cabins, in the fire area. He says an incident management is taking over the fires, which have burned together and are estimated at about 900 acres.

The Alaska wildfire situation is expected to remain extreme. National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Kreller says hot dry conditions are forecast to continue through the weekend.

”Certainly we’ll be in the 80s across Fairbanks and much of the area, down to the southeast as you’re getting into more Delta Junction and stuff, you might see some isolated thunderstorms,” Kreller said.

Kreller says that mean lighting that could start new fires, adding that minimal moisture is associated with the storms, and certainly no wetting rains.