Healy Lake Fire Triples In Size

Healy Lake Fire. Photo released Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Alaska Division of Forestry.
Healy Lake Fire. Photo released Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Alaska Division of Forestry)

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Several wildfires are burning in the interior, including a growing blaze east of Delta Junction. Division of Forestry spokesman Tim Mowry says the Healy Lake fire made a major push west toward Delta beginning late Wednesday night and increased in size from 2,000 to up to 6,000 acres.

“It sort of switched directions last night around midnight and it did bump up against the Tanana river and it spotted across the Tanana river,” he said.

Mowry says officials are working today to get a more accurate map of how much the fire has grown. He credits fire fighters with stopping the fire’s advance across the river, toward Delta.

“Forestry personnel and volunteer fire departments, a load of hotshots that were in Delta, they responded. They had a couple bulldozers out there and they were able to get these spot fires that spotted over into a stringer of spruce,” he said.

Mowry says an area of agricultural fields shields Delta from the fire area, but managers want to keep the flames east of the Tanana River.

Firefighters are also working to protect recreational cabins along the lake. The uninhabited village of Healy Lake is on the opposite side of the water from the fires, and is not threatened.

Another lightning caused wildfire well north of Healy Lake is being allowed to burn. Mowry says it a matter of resources and priorities.

“Were going to keep an eye on it but we don’t currently have the resources to address that fire and… there are no structures threatened,” he said.

The Michigan Creek fire is listed as 30 acres.

A lightning start, this time west of Fairbanks was a priority Wednesday night. Mowry says a forestry patrol spied the Standard Valley fire from a nearby hilltop.

“A crew doing a patrol up on Ester Dome, they spotted that fire, and we were able to jump on it really quickly… and that was a really good catch because that fire could have started getting some life.”

The Standard Valley Fire was halted at about 3.5 acres.

Meanwhile, the Tanana Slough Fire near Dot Lake is now 30 percent contained. The fire increased slightly to 718 total acres Wednesday but remains on an island in the Tanana River.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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