BLM: 19 new wildfires are burning west of the Yukon

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(AP) The Bureau of Land Management says since yesterday, 19 new fires have started west of the Yukon River in the Galena zone, an area of about 93 million acres.

These latest blazes raise the current number of active wildfires in Alaska to about 50.

Alaska Division of Forestry officials say they're busy fighting or monitoring 15 fires. The fires, most of which were believed started by lightning, have burned 65 square miles.

The division says firefighters are staffing five fires and monitoring the rest.
The highest priority is a 3 point 3 square mile fire near the village of Crooked Creek.

A 15 acre fire temporarily closed the Richardson Highway last week near Mile 308. It was controlled by air tankers dropping retardant.

"We've had anywhere from a half inch to an inch and a half of rain around the interior here," said Tim Mowry of the Alaska Division of Forestry. "It's raining from Tok to Delta to Fairbanks to McGrath, so that's really going to take the edge off the fire danger, at least temporarily." .