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Contact: Kris Fister, 907-455-0641
EAGLE, Alaska: Two new lightning-caused fires were discovered on National Park Service lands within the boundary of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve (YUCH) between yesterday and this morning.
The Marie Creek Fire (#465) is on the east side of the Charley River and currently at 8 acres. The Copper Creek Fire (#504) is approximately 24 miles southwest of the Marie Creek Fire and is .1 acre in size. There are no structures threatened at this time, and the fires will be monitored and allowed to continue burning for resource benefit.
There was no detectable smoke on either the Kandik River (#345) or Chester Fires (#365). Both have had very limited perimeter growth since they were ignited by lightning on June 26th. The fires on Doyon lands have also had very limited perimeter growth and no recent activity during the past couple of weeks due to repeated rainfall.
The current hot weather and prolific thunderstorm development pattern is expected to continue through Friday. A cooler, wetter pattern is forecast to take hold by the weekend, slowing fire activity.
This information will be updated when there is a significant change in fire activity.
Fire in Alaska's boreal forest is an essential process that restores ecosystem health and helps maintain species diversity. Both black and white spruce depend on intense ground fire to clear organic layers thereby exposing fertile seedbeds. Black spruce particularly depends upon fire, as its seeds are ready for germination at the peak of the interior Alaska fire season, and are released when canopy fire opens its semi-serotinous cones. Fire also plays a key role in the regulation of the permafrost table.
Without the routine occurrence of fire, organic matter accumulates, the permafrost table rises, and ecosystem productivity declines. Vegetation communities, wildlife habitat and wildlife become less diverse. Fire as an agent of change maintains and rejuvenates these systems.
Additional information on the preserve is available at www.nps.gov/yuch or by calling the Eagle Visitor Center between 8:00 am –5:00 pm at (907) 547-2233.