FAIRBANKS — A forest fire continues burning near Tok and is expected to grow with hotter, drier weather on the horizon. Almost 140 firefighters are working to protect cabins and Native allotments in the fire’s path.
A report posted online Sunday by the Alaska Division of Forestry said cooler, cloudier weather over the weekend moderated the Taixtsalda Hill Fire, which was mapped at 14,428 acres.
But a high pressure system building over the eastern Interior is expected to push temperatures back into the 80s, the report stated.
“The hotter, drier weather is likely to increase fire behavior and result in further growth,” according to the report.
The fire has been burning for a week on Tetlin Native Corp. land 38 miles southwest of Tok and 14 miles southwest of Northway.
Firefighters are focusing on point protection rather than suppression due to the size of the fire and because of safety concerns, according to the report.
“Travelers on the Alaska Highway can see smoke from the fire but the smoke is not impacting the highway. The fire remains approximately 20 miles west of the highway,” the Division of Forestry report stated. “More smoke may be visible from the highway, as well as the villages of Northway and Tetlin, if a burn operation is conducted.”
A temporary flight restriction remains in place in the area.
Fire managers met with a handful of residents in Tok over the weekend to share information. Burnout operations are reportedly being planned to widen and reinforce containment lines.
According to the state forestry division, a saw line was cut and hose line was placed around a Native allotment about two miles south of the fire.
A separate effort involving saw line and hose line was improved near the Nabesna River.
Firefighters also reportedly cleared brush around a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service repeater site about 5 miles south of the fire.
Allotments and cabins at Jatahmund Lake, about 10 miles southeast of the fire, are being assessed in case the fire jumps the Nabesna River, the report stated.
For more information, call 907-707-9866.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter:@FDNMborough.