2-month-old fire continues to spread south of Fairbanks

Associated PressAugust 24, 2012 

In this Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 photo, smoke from the Dry Creek Fire spreads through the sky after it rekindled from a June 23 lightning strike in Fairbanks, Alaska. The fire, 25 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska, was mapped by a surveillance flight Wednesday. At 28,251 acres Wednesday, the fire has doubled in size since Sunday. As of Thursday night, it had grown to 42,000 acres.

SAM HARREL / AP PHOTO

FAIRBANKS -- Shifting winds have allowed a wildfire burning for two months on military land south of Fairbanks to grow to more than 42,000 acres.

However, the fire is still not threatening people or resources, and it is not being fought, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

"We are not trying to put out the fire since it is in a limited management option area, which allows the fire to burn as nature dictates," Mel Slater, an Alaska Fire Service spokesman, said.

The Dry Creek Fire was started by lightning on June 23. It had been dormant until it reignited in recent dry weather.

The fire was mapped at more than 28,000 acres on Thursday morning, but the shifting winds propelled it to more than 42,000 acres by the end of the day.

"Basically, the wildfire is smoldering with spots of fire, short in duration," Salter said.

The fire is located about 25 miles south of Fairbanks on land co-managed by the U.S. Army Alaska and the Bureau of Land Management.

Officials from both agencies are monitoring the fire to make sure it doesn't jump a small perimeter at the Tanana River. If that happens, buildings could be in danger.

However, favorable conditions Friday could ease worries over the smoky conditions the fire has caused in various parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. An air quality advisory extends through Friday.

Friday's winds were expected to turn to the south and southwest, taking smoke away from population centers, said Robert Fischer, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service.

There's also a chance of rain in the forecast through Saturday.

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