Shovel Creek Fire now over 12,000 acres, only 15% contained
The Shovel Creek Fire has grown to 12,053 acres and is 15% contained as of Monday afternoon, according to an update from the Alaska wildfire information website.
Heavy smoke overnight made it difficult for crews to attack the fire, but firefighters were able to make progress on the fire through the night with help from helicopters making water drops to cool hots spots.
The Division of Forestry says main concerns for crews were protecting structures around the Martin neighborhood, while structure protection specialists have been prepping private homes this past week by clearing brush and cutting tree limbs close to homes. In total, 14 water tenders have been supplying portable tanks with water for sprinklers and hoses used to spray down cabins with roughly 160,000 gallons of water.
The following are the current evacuation alerts for the areas near the fire:
LEVEL 1 (READY) – Chatanika River Corridor, Drouin, Hardluck, Moose Mountain, Coyote Jones and Hattie Creek neighborhoods
LEVEL 2 (SET) – Lincoln Creek, Murphy, McCloud and Vancouver neighborhoods
LEVEL 3 (GO) – Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods
Due to ongoing fire operations, residents who leave during a Leval 3 evacuation status will not be allowed to re-enter their homes, officials say.
An evacuation shelter has been set up at Randy Smith School, located at 1401 Bainbridge Boulevard in Fairbanks, and a temporary pet shelter has been set up at Tanana Fairgrounds. Additional information regarding evacuations or smoke respite room can also be found on the Fairbanks North Star Borough website.
The following are the road closures for the areas near the fire:
Spinach Creek Road and Old Murphy Dome Road junction westbound
Murphy Dome Road and Old Murphy Dome Road junction northbound
Murphy Dome Summit and Old Murphy Dome Road
A temporary flight restriction is in place on the airspace over the fire as well. Pilots should check this notice issued by the Federal Aviation Administration/NOTAM to provide a safe environment for fire fighting.
There are eight hotshot crews, 11 type 2 handcrews, 20 engines, 14 dozers, 7 helicopters and 17 water tenders attacking the fire, according to AK Fire Info. Over 750 personnel are working on putting a stop to the fire, which was sparked on June 21 because of lightning.
Due to all the ongoing wildfires in Alaska, smoke continues to impact the Fairbanks area and beyond. More information on air quality and smoke conditions can be found on the Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program's website.
Fire officials will be holding a community meeting at the Ken Kunkle Community Center, located at 2645 Goldstream Road in Fairbanks, on Tuesday, July 9 at 6 p.m. The meeting will also be streamed live on the borough's Facebook page.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
MORE WILDFIRE COVERAGE: