A wildfire burning near the Arctic Circle turnout on Alaska’s Dalton Highway has prompted the evacuation and closure of a nearby campground.
The wildfire is burning on the west side of the highway, which is also known as the haul road since it is used to haul supplies to the North Slope. The fire is near the Arctic Circle sign that is popular with tourists who drive the highway.
The wildfire has prompted the evacuation of a campground with 19 camp sites about a mile away.
It was not immediately clear how many people were at the campground. Geoff Liesik, a spokesperson with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service, said the site is popular with those celebrating the summer solstice, which is Tuesday. The site is also popular with tourists, getting their photos taken at the Arctic Circle sign.
The nearest community is about 30 miles away, Liesik said.
Twelve smokejumpers were working the Fish Fire, aided by aerial support. Fire officials said the wildfire, started by lightning, has burned on less than 1 square mile in black spruce, with isolated torching.
The agency is asking people to avoid the area because of the ongoing evacuation, fire activity and smoke across the road. Specifically, the Bureau of Land Management asked people in a Monday statement not to use the wayside or campground until the agency determines it’s safe to do so. Violating the emergency closure is punishable by fines or imprisonment, the agency said.
In coordination with the Alaska Department of Transportation, the bureau will use a pilot car to help travelers navigate the Dalton Highway around the fire suppression activities, the agency said in its statement.
The Arctic Circle sign is about 200 miles northwest of Fairbanks.