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Crews advancing on 100 Mile Creek blaze in Interior Alaska

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Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 11:50 am | Updated: 6:39 pm, Mon Jun 16, 2014.

FAIRBANKS—Firefighters were dealing with two Red Flag situations on Monday at the 100 Mile Creek Fire, 70 miles southeast of Fairbanks.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag fire warning in the area due to dryer weather and a predicted increase in wind speed while the U.S. Air Force began it's Red Flag training exercises, based out of Eielson Air Force Base, in the airspace immediately to the south of the fire.

However, Air Force and fire officials were closely coordinating the use of airspace to ensure there would be no conflicts between military and firefighting aircraft.

As for the dry, windy conditions, firefighters were doing their best to ensure the fire lines they have been building for the past week and a half keep the 23,177-acre wildfire in check. The National Weather Service was calling for wind gusts from the south up to 35 mph, and the relative humidity in the area was expected to drop below 30 percent.

A similar wind drove the fire several miles to the north on June 7. Since then, firefighters have established good fire control lines on the north end of the fire they hope will withstand the winds.

Containment on the north end of the fire was reported to be 71 percent on Monday morning, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center in Fairbanks. There were still more than 500 firefighters and support personnel working on the fire, which started on May 13 as a spot fire produced by a prescribed burn on military lands in the Donnelly Training Area.

The containment number represents only the part of the fire that is north of a restricted military area. Firefighters are not working in that area or on the southern end of the fire due to unexploded ordnance. The southern portion of the fire is bordered by Delta Creek, the Oklahoma Range prescribed burn, and the burn scar of the 2013 MIssissippi Fire.

A sunny, windy day would be a good "test" for the fire lines and could also create "smokes" that have smoldered undetected for days, fire officials said.

Rain fell in the area late Saturday but the north end of the fire received less rainfall than the remainder of the fire perimeter.


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