2017 June Monthly Report
On June 1st, the North Robertson fire was reported 30 miles northwest of Tok, at mile 1349 of the Alaska Highway. By the next day over 200 firefighters were onsite, and air tankers were dropping water and retardant as the fire approached nearby structures. The fire was 40% contained on the 5th, and 85% by the 11th. It burned a total of 800 acres. Burn suspensions were initiated for central and eastern Interior Alaska on the 2nd. The Bell Creek fire, started by lightning on the 4th, approached the village of Crooked Creek along the Kuskokwim River. Fire crews and takers were dispatched to fight the fire. The fire reached 2,600 acres. The Deadpan's Slough fire also started on the 4th within two miles of the village of Anvik, and was also fought to protect structures.
On the 5th, heavy rainfall was reported across southern portion of the Panhandle with Ketchikan reporting 2.60", 1.64" at Zarembo and 1.27" at Annette. For much of the next week, red flag warnings were issued for the middle and eastern Interior due to continued high temperatures and winds. Heavy lightning strikes in Western Alaska on the 6th started 19 new fires in the Galena zone.
Smoke from the South Fork Salcha, north of the Pogo Mine, reached Fairbanks on the 9th. This fire was not actively fought even though it was within two miles of the road to the Pogo Mine. It ended the month at over 8,000 acres. A small wildfire temporarily closed the Richardson Highway near Fairbanks at mile 308 on the 9th. The fire was fought vigorously with firefighters and multiple aircraft, and listed as out on the 11th at a total of 15 acres. The fire being close to Birth Lake aided in the fighting efforts.
Skagway had a high temperature of 88°F on the 8th, highest temperature in almost eight years. The warm weather increased snowmelt in the mountains, and the Taiya and Chilkat Rivers were running at bankfull levels over the next two days. Needed rainfall moved over the Interior on the 10th and 11th. Some forty-eight hours totals are: 1.73" at Moose Creek Dam near Fairbanks, 1.57" at Little Chena River, 1.41" at Two Rivers, 1.07" at Salcha and 1.04"
near Nenana. The high temperatures in the Interior broke on the 13th, with warnings of possible morning frost in low-lying areas on the 13th through the 15th. On the 14th, a low of 28°F was reported at Goldstream Creak, 26°F at Angel Creek and 23°F at Upper Salcha River.
The East Fork fire was started by lightning late on the 15th about five miles north of Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula. More than 80 personal and a tanker staffed the fire by the next day, while smoke from the fire blew into Anchorage. The fire burned about 1,000 acres before being brought under control over the next few days.