Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Watch drone footage of 500,000-acre wildfire near Fort Yukon

Firefighting personnel are working to protect the Gwich’in village of Chalkyitsik, 43 air miles from Fort Yukon, northeast of Fairbanks. This fire is known as the Chalkyitsik Complex Fire.

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Video credit: UAS Operators AKIMT/BLM AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry.

The Chalkyitsik Complex Fire has burned over 500,700 acres above the Arctic Circle. 416 firefighters and fire managers are assigned to the fire under Incident Commander Norm McDonald. Many of the firefighters are Alaska Natives. The area has received no measurable rain for weeks.

Crews have been flown into Chalkyitsik, which has a landing strip, and then are moved around to where they are needed by helicopter or jet boat. During the mop up phase, the teams are hauling tons of fire hoses and pumps back to Fairbanks.

“It’s just not as easy as rolling hose, placing it on the fire truck bed and driving it back to the fire station”, said Michelle Weston, Fire Information Officer.

Chalkyitsik residents have been hired to assist with moving equipment and the Alaska Incident Management Team extended thanks to the community, population of about 60, for their support, patience and understanding in hosting the fire crews.

[Read more about this fire at this link]

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


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