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2013 June Monthly Report


The short transition from spring to summer was evident in Tok as the spring run off resulted in flooding of local roads and low lying areas at the start of the month. The water affected about a dozen homes before receding. At the same time, lightning started what was at that time the state's largest wildfire, named Bitter Creek, 60 miles from Tok. Fighting efforts continued until the 11th when most staff left, and total area burned was estimated at 2,200 acres and came within a mile and half of the Alaska Highway. Smaller fires also started in Delta Junction, and Healy. Seasonal run off affected the Richardson Highway all the way to the middle of the month. Rabbit Creak in Anchorage saw a surge of water on the 14th from a suspected ice dam break. After substantial rain fell in the Salcha river basin on the 4th and 5th, flood warnings were issued. The rain helped dampen Interior fires. The heat wave that hit the state about mid month created ideal conditions for wildfires, especially in the Interior. Fires started near Harding Lake and North Pole on the 17th. A large fire near Lime Village threatened the town and fire crews were working hard protecting structures, and it would eventually make it to within a half mile of the village. The Kaouti fire started near Two Rivers community on the Chena Hot Springs Road also started on the 17th, and was fought vigorously, so while no evacuations were issued, and no structures were lost, the road was temporarily closed from mile thirteen to sixteen. The fire topped out at 120 acres, and ended up being battled for two weeks. The Skinny Road fire at about mile 324 of the Parks Highway popped up on the 25th, resulting in the closing of the highway on the 26th, and frequent delays after that time. About 120 fires were burning across the state at the end of the month.

The Denali Highway was finally opened to through traffic on the 5th, several weeks later than normal. The longer than normal winter was blamed for a substantial die off of fish in Quartz Lake. In a reversal, warm water and lack of oxygen was blamed for the death of hundreds of fish at Ballaine Lake near Fairbanks at the end of the month. A mosquito boom across the Interior resulted in a shortage of repellent in Fairbanks, while the hot weather drained the stores of any type of fan or air conditioners. The dry conditions resulted in the City of North Pole banning firework sales, and local Interior officials pleaded with the public to refrain from their use. Woodcutting was curtailed across the Interior as well. The dry conditions had the City of Anchorage pulling a fire truck out of retirement as well as instituting a burn ban. Thunderstorms were noted at Barrow in 13th.