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Lightning ignited two new fires in Noatak National Preserve. The Noatak River fire is located north of the Noatak River and east of Narvakrak Lake. This fire was estimated at 300 acres burning in brush and tundra and exhibiting two to four foot flame lengths with 100 percent of the perimeter active. The fire does not pose an immediate threat to life or property, and it is burning in a “limited” fire management unit. Named the Noatak River Fire, it was discovered by a National Park Service ranger flying over the area. The closest structure is 20 miles downriver. The ranger also reported the two-acre Maiyumerak Creek Fire, located west of the mouth of Maiyumerak Creek, which had no smoke observed and is in monitor status.
National Park Service (NPS) and Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Fire Service – Galena Zone (AFS – Galena Zone) fire staff, providing there is no life and property or sensitive features at risk, will allow the fire to take its natural course in the shrub tundra. They will monitor it by mapping it from the air and documenting fire behavior observations. Smoke may be visible at times.
Lightning fires are not uncommon in Noatak NP, which averages 4 to 6 lightning fires a year. The Noatak River Fire is burning in tundra where, as in the boreal forests, fire is a natural process that restores and maintains ecosystem health and wildlife habitat.
The forecast in Noatak NP calls for warm weather Friday, followed by cooler weather and several days with chances of rain.