Yukon Creek Fire prompts evacuation preparations along Salcha River
Weather conditions not helping firefighting efforts through weekend
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) - Officials placed residents off the road system and recreational cabins in the Middle Salcha River and Upper Salcha River Zones in “set” status with the Lower Salcha River in “ready” status as a result of a very active Yukon Creek Fire.
The statement from officials went on to say that “when evacuation status changes, we will work with emergency management staff to make those announcements.”
The Yukon Creek Fire, which has grown to 12,489 acres, is part of the recently named Middle Tanana Complex, and also includes the Marshall Mountain, Central Creek, Central Creek Airstrip, Porcupine Creek, South Fork, Gold Hub, California Creek and Gilles Creek fires. All of these fires remain active and as of 9 a.m. Alaska Time Saturday, have burned a combined 50,276 acres in an area east of the Richardson Highway from Delta Junction to Eielson Air Force Base.
Saturday morning’s update acknowledged that “smokejumpers are making progress implementing structure protection measures along the Salcha River corridor in areas that the Yukon Fire could impact. During structure protection efforts, firefighters set up pumps and hoses to get water to a sprinkler system that can be turned on around buildings as the fire nears. They clear vegetation away from the structures and further secure the property with handline as needed. These efforts are intended to minimize impacts to properties should the fire reach them.”
The statement also mentioned that late Friday, the “Central Creek Fire became more active and began to impact the Pogo Mine road around mile 40. The Gold Hub Fire continues to impact the Pogo Mine road around mile 20. Protecting the power lines that supply electricity to the mine is a priority. If conditions allow, fire managers will take a reconnaissance flight to assess these fires today.”
The area remains under a red flag warning through midnight Monday morning as very warm temperatures in the 75 to 85 degree range, low humidity levels in the 20% to 40% range, as well as some thunderstorms with active lightning, and gusty outflow winds continue to provide an environment very favorable for continued fire growth and movement.
Temporary flight restrictions are also in place over the Gold Hub Fire, according to officials, including the use of drones.
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