News Release

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Asks for Vigilance with Campfires

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Date: August 9, 2021
Contact: Jamie Hart, 907-707-9734

COPPER CENTER, AK – Weather throughout Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve has recently varied greatly from rainy to dry conditions. Some areas are dry and may be primed for both human and natural caused fires to ignite and spread quickly. In the past, Park officials have found multiple abandoned campfires that had the potential to escape and ignite a wildfire. Although we have seen moisture scatter across the Park, we are still in fire season and should plan accordingly to ensure campfires are put out.
Campfires are currently allowed in the Park and Preserve, but the effects of an unattended campfire could endanger structures or be a threat to visitor safety. Fires must be kept small and be completely extinguished before vacating any camp site in the Park. Hunters and recreationists are urged to have good awareness of the weather conditions around them when deciding to have a campfire and ensure that a fire is dead out before leaving.

Following these simple steps can help reduce the threat of a wildfire. Putting Out a Campfire:
1. Keep plenty of water handy for a quick response if the fire were to escape.
2. Drown the fire with water making sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. If it is too hot to touch, then it is too hot to leave.
3. Use a shovel, stir water and dirt into your campfire to make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch. Carefully run the back of your hand near the surface of the fire remains to double check all heat is gone.
4. Wildland fire managers encourage families to keep a safe distance of 4 feet from their campfires by drawing a "circle of safety" and being mindful of child safety around the fire ring.
5. Make sure your campfire is dead out, please don’t burn our public lands. We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused fires during this season. One Less Spark Means One Less Wildfire!

Due to hunting season, there’s an increase in sheep and moose hunters who may be using warming campfires. Human caused fires can escape and cause a threat to visitor safety, structures, and cultural resources. Please stay vigilant and keep an eye out for new fire starts and report them to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center at 1-800-237-3633.

Currently in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, the lightning caused Black Hills Fire has burned 28,745 acres as of August 3rd along the boundary of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. There has been very little change in the fire size recently and its being monitored by fire personnel. Fire is a natural process in Alaskan ecosystems. Fires reduce dead vegetation and debris, stimulate new growth, and improve habitat for wildlife. Hunters and recreationists may see smoke coming from this fire on the northern reaches of the Nabesna River, near the Black Hills area.

For statewide wildfire information, visit:
For more information, contact Jamie Hart (907) 707-9734 or e-mail us

Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
PO Box 439
Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway

Copper Center , AK 99573


907 822-5234

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