Wildfire closes parts of Chena River Recreation Area

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Nugget Creek Fire burning between Mile 34 and Mile 39 of Chena Hot Springs Road has prompted state officials to close parts of the Chena River Recreation Area including Granite Tors, Mastodon Trail, and some river access.

The 6,937 acre fire is burning in a limited management area. Firefighters have been stationed along the road and river watching to make sure the fire doesn't cross the road.

Alaska Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Time Mowry said the fire is pretty much behaving.

"It's just smoldering and backing and creeping. Minimal fire activity, putting up a little bit of smoke that is visible from the road," Mowry said. Even though it is visible from the road, he said it is still south of the river and road which is where they want to keep it.

State officials closed the Granite Tors Trail and campground and the Mastodon Trail because of the fire. They have also have closed river access points from 34 mile to 39 mile Chena Hot Springs Road. Mowry said the river is still open, but for peoples safety and the safety of firefighters they closed those access points.

Because of the high fire danger campfires in state parks are only allowed in designated fire rings in campgrounds. Elsewhere a burn ban is in effect, banning open debris burning and the use of burn barrels. Fires under three feet in diameter are still allowed, but Mowry encourages people to be careful and make sure the fire is totally out before they leave. The sale and use of fireworks has also been banned for much of the State.