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Lightning strikes cause Interior Alaska wildfires

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 11:47 pm

FAIRBANKS — State fire officials are monitoring three new Interior Alaska wildfires started by lightning strikes earlier this week. All three are near the village of Hughes about 200 miles northwest of Fairbanks.

The largest is the 1,350-acre Kokrines Hills Fire, 25 miles southeast of Hughes. The fire is burning in an area of black spruce, tundra and tussock and is under observation.

The Mentanontli River Fire is located 25 miles northeast of Hughes and has consumed 600 acres of timber and grass. It is under observation.

The Little Indian River Fire is 18 miles south of Hughes. It too is under observation and has burned 600 acres of timber and grass.

Of the 25 new fires reported across the state Tuesday, all but one were caused by lightning strikes, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. The Interior received 1,429 lightning strikes in a concentrated band running east to southwest, prompting the AICC to send fire personnel out in airplanes to look for new fires.

Elsewhere in the Interior, a prescribed burn will be conducted by the U.S. Army Garrison Alaska 25 miles southwest of Delta Junction on Sunday.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7590.

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