Alaska News

Alaska's first wildfire of 2016 reported near Delta Junction

The agency in charge of tracking wildfires statewide reported Monday Alaska's first blaze of 2016, which ignited south of Delta Junction.

Ammunition from live-fire training on military land about 10 miles south of the Interior town was first reported to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center in Fairbanks at 12:55 p.m. by Donnelly Training Area control personnel.

Firefighters from the Fort Greely Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, according to AICC.

Alaska Fire Service officials, who work for the Bureau of Land Management, will travel to the scene of the fire Tuesday to determine its size, according to AICC.

The fire burned in open tundra and was driven by 25 mile-per-hour winds, Branden Petersen, assistant fire manager for the Alaska Fire Service's Military Zone, said in a prepared statement.

The wind and lack of snow in the area allowed the fire to spread, Petersen said.

Smoke was visible from Delta Junction, and the Alaska Division of Forestry office in Delta Junction received reports from the public about smoke.


Four AFS personnel responded to the fire but stood down after Fort Greely firefighters responded, according to AICC.

Alaska Division of Forestry information officer Tim Mowry said there are concerns about the upcoming fire season. The snow that dumped on Southcentral Alaska on Sunday did little to assuage the worries about the dry, largely snowless season south of the Alaska Mountain Range, he said.

But the weather in April and May, when wildfire season generally begins, will determine the severity of this year's fires, Mowry said.

"It's still too early to tell, but hopefully we get more snow," he said.

Dry conditions and warm weather created an ideal environment for wildfires across much of Alaska in 2015.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.