Parks Highway Fire

Parks Highway Fire

13 June 2006

As of Monday morning, 12 June 2006, the Parks Highway Fire was burning just one mile southeast of the small town of Nenana, Alaska. Having burned up to17,000 ha in a mixture of spruce forest, tundra, and grass, the blaze was threatening residences, native land allotments, commercial property, and infrastructure. This image shows the blaze, with actively burning areas outlined in red, observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on 10 June 2006.

10 June  2006

(source: EarthObservatory)

This image is shown at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution (level of detail), which is 250 meters perpixel.

Nenana sits at the junction of the Nenana River with the Tanana River, which flows northwest into theYukon. Nenana is both a traditional village for native Athabascan Tribes, as well as an historic Europeansettlement. The Alaska Railroad runs through the region and crosses the Tanana River atNenana.

Alaska health officials were issuing an air quality advisory for smoke fromthe fire along the Parks Highway south of Nenana. Smoke from what has been dubbed the Tamarack Fire is expected to remain in the Tanana Valley for the next 24 hours. The Division of Forestry says the fire has grown to1,200 ha.

Smoke and flames closed the highway for several hours last Wednesday and alsosome additional closures Thursday were necessary.  The fire started at a home near Mile 291 Parks Highway.Homeowner using a burn barrel allowed fire to escape and ignite brush or grass. The Forestry Division responded with aircraft dumping water and retardant and with firefighters on the ground. So far no structures have been lost. About 120 to 140 firefighters are on thescene. The fire is within two miles of Nenana but the community’s airport and the Tanana River stand between the flames and thecity.

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