by Phillip Manning ~ July 8th, 2013
According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently ninety-one active wildfires burning statewide. Cool, wet weather has slowed the growth of fires in some areas, but the Fairbanks area was hit especially hard over the weekend.
The Stuart Creek fire, east of Eielson Air Force Base, nearly doubled in size from Sunday to Monday. It has now consumed over 100 square miles. Warm weather and windy conditions have allowed the fire to grow at a very rapid rate. Nearly 700 firefighters are currently battling the blaze, and nearly 600 residents have been evacuated from the Pleasant Valley and Two Rivers areas. There may be relief in sight, however, as the National Weather Service is forecasting rain for the Fairbanks area on Tuesday. According to KUAC in Fairbanks, the Stuart Creek Fire was started by live artillery rounds used in a military training exercise in late June.
Further south in Denali National Park, eight fires are still burning, but cooler, wetter weather has slowed their growth, according to Kris Fister, spokesperson for the Park. Last Wednesday, smokejumpers made efforts to clear brush and other potential fuel from the area of two historic patrol cabins in the Park backcountry. None of the fires burning in Denali National Park are threatening major infrastructure at this time.