Lightning Ignites Small Fires in Denali National Park Backcountry
Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
DENALI PARK, Alaska: A large storm cell moved in late Wednesday afternoon and lingered well into the evening, pounding the area with lightning, wind, and rain. As of this afternoon, only three small fires had been detected in the park, all located more than 20 miles north of the Denali Park Road between the East Fork and Toklat Rivers. During the initial overflight the fires were each estimated to be less than an acre in size. There are currently no critical resources being threatened and the fires will be monitored.
The Brooker Mountain and Xerxes wildfire, located in Kantishna and near Wonder Lake respectively, have been declared controlled. The smokejumpers were demobilized from the fires yesterday, and the National Park Service fire crew will monitor the burn sites for any sign of activity. The Sandless Lake Fire near the northern park boundary, and the Bear Creek Fire approximately 15 miles northwest of Kantishna, are not threatening any critical resources, and will be monitored.
The Beaver Log Lakes Fire is now being managed by a Type 3 Interagency incident management team based at Lake Minchumina.The fire is 26,555 acres (most acreage outside of Denali National Preserve). Fire personnel are assessing structures and initiating structure protection around Lake Minchumina. Additional fire crews and other resources are being ordered. Information about fires near Denali National Park and Preserve can be found at the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website at http://fire.ak.blm.gov.
The Moving River Fire located approximately 30 miles northwest of Kantishna is now almost 5,000 acres. BLM and USFS smokejumpers are mopping up the completed burnout around the historic Roosevelt cabin site today. This fire is also being managed by the Type 3 Interagency incident management team at Lake Minchumina. Fire personnel are evaluating allotments on Chilchukabena Lake for protection options.
In spite of the recent rain, fire danger for the park and surrounding area remains high to extreme. The National Park Service is urging park visitors to be extremely cautious with anything that could start a wildfire. Fires are not allowed in the park's wilderness areas and fireworks are prohibited. Everyone has a hand in a safe wildfire season.
There are currently 121 active wildfires in the state. On Wednesday over 8,000 lightning strikes were recorded state-wide, and 30 new fires were ignited. Where there is fire, there is smoke. Due to the current and expected statewide fire activity, anticipate the possibility of varying levels of smoke. Keep informed of local fire information and air quality reports. Wildfire smoke information is available at http://dec.alaska.gov/air/smokemain.htm. Visit http://fire.ak.blm.gov for statewide information and a map of the active fires.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/currentfireinfo.htm for current information about wildfires in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.