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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
DENALI PARK, Alaska: There was little change in the size of most of the fires burning in Denali National Park and Preserve over the past 24 hours, with the exception of two burning in the Toklat Basin north of the Denali Park Road. Yesterday afternoon chinook winds gusting from the Alaska Range pushed the Wigand and Toklat River East Fires north over one and seven miles respectively, which also significantly increased the size of both fires. The Wigand Fire is now an estimated 1,790 acres and the Toklat River East Fire is 8,928 acres. Fire managers were not able to obtain an accurate fire perimeter due to the smoke in the area. These fires may merge, as they are in close proximity to each other. The historical Lower Toklat and Lower East Fork ranger patrol cabins are potentially threatened by the increased fire activity. Four smoke jumpers were deployed at each cabin this afternoon after fire managers were able to fully assess the structural protection needs.
The 59,000-acre Beaver Log Lakes Fire is the only other fire being staffed, and it is managed by the Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) based at Lake Minchumina.Fire personnel have successfully burned out areas around cabins and other buildings on the north shore of Lake Minchumina and are continuing to mop up around these structures.
The Moving River Fire approximately 30 miles northwest of Kantishna is now 26,266 acres and is also being managed by the Type 3 IMT. The 550-acre Chilchukabena Lake Fire is approximately ¾ mile north of the Moving River Fire and will likely merge with it.
The McKinley River East Fire 14 miles northwest of Wonder Lake was re-mapped and is now 4,037 acres. It is in an area where a large 1986 fire burned adjacent to the McKinley River.It and the lightning-ignited fires burning in remote backcountry north of the Denali Park Road are not threatening any critical park resources, and will continue to be monitored for any significant changes in activity.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/currentfireinfo.htm for current information about wildfires in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Fire danger for the park and surrounding area is moderate to high. The National Park Service is urging park visitors to be extremely cautious with anything that could start a wildfire. Campfires are discouraged, but they are permitted in the fire grates in three of the park's campgrounds.Fires are not allowed in the park's wilderness areas. Fireworks are not allowed in the park and will be confiscated. Persons using fireworks in the park may be prosecuted.
There are currently 109 active wildfires in the state. Where there is fire, there is smoke. Due to the current and expected statewide fire activity, park visitors should anticipate the possibility of varying levels of smoke in the park. 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.