Alaska firefighting efforts continue on McDonald Fire

June 25, 2024

McDonald Fire: Firefighters work on containment measures

As reported by the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service on Saturday (June 22), firefighter resources on the McDonald Fire completed burn operations on the south side of the fire, west of the 5 Mile Creek cabins.

These burn operations are designed to remove fuels between the active fire and values at risk.

Hotshot crews are creating a contingency fireline on the east side of the 5 Mile Creek cabins.

Firefighters have also prepped the cabins with sprinkler systems and cleared nearby vegetation.

In the Clear Creek area, smokejumpers are removing hazardous fuels and installing sprinklers, pumps, and hoses to protect military infrastructure.

Firefighters are patrolling the Richardson Highway corridor and adjacent subdivisions, with three lookouts established to provide information to ground crews.

New fires reported on military lands

Lightning ignited two new fires on military lands, approximately 15 miles northwest of the McDonald Fire.

Fire 204 covers 300 acres with an active perimeter and continuous fuel ahead, indicating a high potential for spreading.

Fire 205 is one acre with a 30% active perimeter.

Firefighters are assessing military infrastructure to the north for potential structure protection operations.

Due to the hazard of unexploded ordnance, these fires will remain unstaffed.

Drivers are advised to use caution and turn on headlights while traveling along the Richardson Highway due to potential visibility issues caused by smoke.

The fire danger in the area remains critically high.

Weather conditions and burn permits

Near Red Flag conditions were forecasted for Saturday afternoon and possibly again on Sunday afternoon.

Sunny, dry, and very warm conditions were expected over the fire from Saturday through Monday.

Conditions are expected to continue warming and drying into the next week.

The Department of Forestry (DOF) has issued Burn Permit Suspensions for Fairbanks, Salcha, Tok, and Railbelt areas.

The fire danger in these areas remains high.

For the latest updates, check the Alaska Department of Natural Resources website or call the burn permit hotline for the Fairbanks Area Forestry.

Air quality and evacuation notices

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) has issued an air quality advisory for Central and Eastern Alaska due to wildfire smoke, effective through 2 p.m.


Low-level smoke is expected to impact communities near the McDonald Fire, with smoke settling in the flats during evening hours, affecting a larger number of communities.

Increased smoke production from wildfires in Canada, northeast Alaska, and McGrath is also expected during the advisory period.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) has issued a Level 2: SET evacuation notice for approximately 20 cabins near the fire’s southern edge.

Areas along the lower Salcha River, Harding Lake, Hollies Acres, Canaday, Salcha, and Johnson Road neighborhoods are in a READY status.

More information and an interactive map of these areas are available on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Services website.

Temporary flight restriction in effect

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has been established 30 nautical miles southeast of Fairbanks to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft.

The TFR details are available on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Read Next

Subscribe Now