Berry pickers beware. After receiving multiple reports of fire activity from the public over the past week, the Alaska Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Forestry in Fairbanks is warning the public that the Shovel Creek Fire is still active and can pose a danger to those recreating in the area.
The fire, which is burning northwest of Fairbanks near Murphy Dome, is being monitored by the Fairbanks Area Forestry office. The office put out a statement Sunday reminding the public the fire is still burning, despite the heavy rain that hit the area over the past two weeks.
“The public should avoid recreating or traveling through the Shovel Creek Fire area, if possible,” the statement reads. “Hikers, berry pickers and ATVers need to be aware that there are hazards associated with areas that have recently been burned in a wildfire, namely burned trees — often called snags — and ash pits.”
The statement points out that “snags” have the potential to fall at any point. According to the statement, white ash on the ground may indicate “deep pockets of hot ash where roots and ground vegetation have burned and may continue to burn underground.” Stepping in an ash pit can result in serious injury.
“What’s going on is people are going out there hiking and picking berries and stuff and they’re doing it — in a lot of cases — inside the fire perimeter,” public information officer Tim Mowry said. “People can expect to see puffs of smoke and flames if they’re out in that fire area, and they just need to be careful.”
Smoke and occasional flames will likely continue to be visible within the fire perimeter for weeks or even months to come. In some areas, minimal fire activity will continue until snow falls. Mowry said the same could be said for the Kobe Fire near Anderson.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMoutdoors.