Mayor Ward visits Shovel Creek Fire Command Post, asks residents to prepare for possible evacuation

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward visited the Incident Command Post for the Shovel Creek and Nugget Creek fires this morning. Ward spoke to the Incident Commander, and received a briefing on the current status of the fires.

Incident management team officials expressed to the mayor how beneficial the support of local, state, and federal resources has been to fighting these fires. As of Friday morning, the Nugget Creek fire is on monitor status. The fire grew to 1,550 acres and although it was active in black spruce, officials say the fire behavior was minimal in open areas and mixed woods. A rappel crew went in to complete efforts to protect structures in the area. Granite Tors trail has been closed due to heavy smoke and increased fire activity.

The Shovel Creek Fire north of Murphy Dome continues to burn actively and is currently over 2,000 acres, with close to 450 personnel working on the fire. Ward says borough residents should start preparing for a possible evacuation to make the process go smoother if an evacuation is necessary. "We just want folks to prepare, it doesn't mean we actually will have to issue an evacuation notice for the area, but we just want to make sure that if conditions change, that residents are prepared, they've got their personal items set aside, and it is anticipated that we might get into that over the weekend, as it's supposed to get up into the 90's," said Ward.

The communities of Martin subdivision, McCloud subdivision, Murphy subdivision, Lincoln subdivision, Perfect Perch Drive, and the Chatanika River corridor are currently in level 1 (Ready) evacuation status.