On Friday, May 22 the Alaska Division of Forestry office in Tok contacted the Alaska Fire Service (AFS) Dispatch with a pilot’s report of new smoke in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. AFS conducted a reconnaissance that day and confirmed the Trout Creek Fire (#098) was approximately 150 acres with a 30% active perimeter. AFS will fly two firefighters to the site Saturday, May 23 to assess and mitigate potential threat to a cabin in the vicinity. The fire is approximately 25 air miles northwest of Eagle.
There is moderate potential for fire growth in the coming weeks. Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire and manage it for resource benefit and other objectives. The cause is listed as lightning, but fire managers feel it’s possible that the fire is a result of overwintering heat in an underlying oil shale layer or coal seam that are part of the area’s geology. There have been three fires in the vicinity during the past five years. The nearby Windfall Mountain has seen annual fire activity early in the season since it was originally discovered in October 2012.
Fire in Alaska’s boreal forest is an essential process that restores ecosystem health and helps maintain species diversity. The National Park Service works with its interagency partners, neighboring communities, and other stakeholders to balance the risks and benefits of wildland fire when making decisions on fire management. Land owners can decrease the risk to their property by taking steps to make cabins and other structures more defensible against wildfire.