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Haystack Fire breaks containment line north of Fairbanks, grows to 350 acres

Two fires were reported approximately 20 miles apart north of Fairbanks Monday evening.
Smoke from the Haystack Fire north of Fairbanks. This photo was taken from Peger Road in...
Smoke from the Haystack Fire north of Fairbanks. This photo was taken from Peger Road in Fairbanks, looking north at approximately 1:00 p.m. Tuesday.(BLM Alaska Fire Service)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:17 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Two fires were reported approximately 20 miles apart, north of Fairbanks Monday evening. Division of Forestry and BLM Alaska Fire Service firefighters are currently on the scene of both fires and working on containment. According to the official Alaska Wildfire map, the Winter Trail Fire has been reduced from approximately 20 acres to 7 acres, while the Haystack Fire has grown to approximately 350 acres since first being reported.

A map showing the locations of the Winter Trail Fire (#194) and Haystack Fire (#196) north of...
A map showing the locations of the Winter Trail Fire (#194) and Haystack Fire (#196) north of Fairbanks.(BLM Alaska Fire Service)

The Haystack Fire (#196) was reported around 6:30 p.m. Monday as a 3-4 acre fire and is located about half a mile past the end of Middle Fork Road in the Haystack Subdivision, about 20 miles north of Fairbanks, approximately 2 ½ miles east of the Elliott Highway and 5 ½ miles west of the Steese Highway. It is now reported to be approximately 350 acres in size.

Twenty miles to the southwest, The Winter Trail Fire (#194) is burning about 16 miles northeast of Fairbanks and about three-quarters of a mile north of Fort Knox Gold Mine. It was reported around 8:30 p.m. Monday evening. It is located between Last Chance Creek and Iowa Creek and there is no road access. Smokejumpers reported the fire to be estimated 20 acres as of 9:45 p.m. Monday evening. That number was lowered to 7 acres Tuesday evening. According to the BLM Alaska Fire Service, the fire is burning in black spruce. They described fire behavior as smoldering with isolated tree torching.

An aerial shot during initial attack of the 20-acre Winter Trail Fire (#194) burning about 20...
An aerial shot during initial attack of the 20-acre Winter Trail Fire (#194) burning about 20 miles northeast of Fairbanks near the Fort Knox Gold Mine. The mine road is visible in the bottom of the photo.(Tony Chapman/BLM Alaska Fire Service)

According to a Facebook post from BLM Alaska Fire Service, the Haystack Fire broke containment around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and more resources are being mobilized as needed in order to bring the fire under control.

The Alaska DNR- Division of Forestry (DOF) is responding to increased fire behavior on the #HaystackFire 🔥 north of...

Posted by BLM Alaska Fire Service on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Around 60 firefighter personnel are attacking the Haystack Fire, and State forestry has ordered three water-scooping aircraft from the BLM Alaska Fire Service to bomb the fire with water drops and two air tankers to drop retardant around the fire to slow its progress. Two crews – the White Mountain and Tanana Chiefs – are on scene engaging the fire to ensure it doesn’t advance south toward the subdivision. Two bulldozers have also been ordered to help construct containment line around the southern edge of the fire closest to the subdivision.

Fire managers report extreme fire behavior and 200-foot flame lengths in the active portion of the fire. Southwest winds are pushing the fire to the north, away from the Haystack Subdivision and no homes are currently threatened. No evacuations have been ordered.

Both fires are currently being reported as being caused by lightning strikes, but the circumstances are still being investigated.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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