2016 June Monthly Report
The Koyukuk River Fire was reported on the 3rd and crews were sent to fight the fire. It had grown to over 3,000 acres by the 6th and crews shifted to protect structures on the 6th after rain slowed the fire. The fire did grow to over 20,000 acres by the end of the month, but was placed in watch mode by the Fire Service.
Heavy rains, with snowfall at higher elevations, were reported across much of mainland Alaska on June 5th and 6th. Anchorage totaled 1.03Ó on the 6th. the third highest daily precipitation value on record. The wettest Anchorage June day is 1.62Ó from 1962. The heavy rain resulted in localized flooding of area creeks with water reported over Turnagain Boulevard. Heavy rain was also prevalent in areas of the Alaska Range with over an inch of precipitation reported at Eielson Visitors Center in Denali Park, which included serval inches of snow. A total of 1.19Ó at Caribou Peak north of Fairbanks, and 1.01Ó near Chena Hot Springs of rain were measured, and the rains caused area creeks and rivers to rise, but no flooding was reported.
On the 13th the last crews fighting the Medfra Fire in southwest Alaska (that had peeked in size at over 9,000 acres) were pulled off the fire. The Medfra Fire had started in May, and was a holdover from the Soda Creek Fire from the previous summer.
On the 18th smoke from the Big Mud Fire near Tanana drifted into the Fairbanks and other Interior areas. The Big Mud Fire started on June 1st and had reached about 20,000 acres by mid month, then 40,000 acres by the end of the month. The Tetlin River Fire started on the 17th and grew to 700 acres by the next day from high winds. Residents of Tetlin were asked to be prepared to leave, but no evacuations were ordered and about 175 fire fighters were on scene. The number of fighters increased to 120 by the 20th as the fire jumped the Tetlin River and burned right up to the village airstrip. The fire was 75% contained at about 800 acres by the end of the month.
On the first official day of summer, June 21st, snowfall was reported in Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range. The 25th and 26th saw a large number of thunderstorms across Alaska that resulted in more than 20,000 lightning strikes. Much of the lightning was concentrated in the Interior portion of the State, which started more than 60 wildfires. Most were started in limited suppression areas, and many were put out with the heavy rains that followed, especially the fires north of Fairbanks in the Chatanika area. Five of the fires had crews dispatched to fight them. A quarter inch of hail was reported north of Fairbanks, while Ambler Lake received 2.00" of rain on the 25th. The Denali area reported 0.82" on the 26th.
By the end of June wetter weather had returned to much of Interior Alaska. There were about 80 active wildfires, and approximately 120,000 acres had burned from more than 350 wildfires for the season.