FAIRBANKS - A line of thunderstorms caused major growth of the East Volkmar Fire northeast of Delta Junction on Sunday evening.
The fire, now estimated at 16,000 acres, grew to the north and northeast in Bear Creek drainage, according to fire officials. The northern-most section of the fire is 1 mile from the South Fork of the Goodpaster between Columbia and Bear Creeks. The eastern perimeter remains west of Michigan Creek.
Fire crews are trying to keep the blaze from spreading toward Volkmar Lake and out of the Goodpaster River draining. There are 201 personnel assigned to the fire.
The thunderstorms brought a lot of lightning but little rain outside of localized area. Crews are on the alert for new fires that may have been sparked by lightning, and responded to several small fires in the Chena Hot Springs Road area east of Fairbanks on Sunday. A family of four camping near 12 Mile Summit on the Steese Highway was evacuated after lightning sparked a fire nearby.
Fire officials also posted a reminder that open burning is suspended in the area. Forestry continues to respond to unauthorized and dangerous debris burns and bonfires. Residents must not light yard burns at this time. The only fires allowed are small cooking fires 2-3 feet in diameter that are located in a fire ring surrounded by dirt, sand, or gravel. Never light fires during windy conditions. The campfire must be attended with water and tools until it is completely extinguished.