More than 80 firefighters are battling a 2,500 acre blaze near Whitefish Lake. The fire south of Kalskag and the Kuskokwim River is one of about a dozen that were started by lightning on Sunday. Tim Mowry, public information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry, says smokejumpers and four crews were dispatched to the fire.
“For air resources we have a CL-215: a big water scooping aircraft working it, and also three water scooping airplanes called ‘Fire Bosses,’” Mowry says.
Managers don’t believe there are any structures at risk, but they want to prevent it from reaching village corporation lands. The fire is currently burning a mix of black spruce and tundra grasses on Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge lands.
“Most of the fire is in light fuels, tundra and open country; it’s susceptible to rain if it falls. The forecast is calling for wetter weather moving into the area,” Mowry says.
Other fires with a staffed response include the 40-acre Getmuna fire northwest of Crooked Creek, which is now mostly contained. A 17-acre fire at nearby Little Creek was declared contained on Monday. Crews are keeping an eye on a small fire in the Lime Village area, which they believe could turn into a larger fire if conditions are favorable.
Nearly 11,000 acres statewide have burned so far this year.