Lightning sparks 3 wildfires in Southwest Alaska Tuesday

A fire burns Tuesday near Beaver Creek, 33 miles west of McGrath.
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Smokejumpers are on their toes after three wildfires were reported following thousands of lightning strikes in Southwest Alaska Tuesday. More lighting is predicted for Wednesday night.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday the first fire was reported in the Lonesome Hills between McGrath and Medfra near the Kuskokwim River and was reported as about 5 acres in size. Eight smokejumpers responded from their positions in Galena, where they were positioned in anticipation. They secured the perimeter of the fire by 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

A second fire was spotted at 8 p.m Tuesday night near Beaver Creek, 33 miles from McGrath. It is about 10 miles from the unpopulated Iditarod checkpoint of Ophir and five miles away from a mining claim. Smokejumpers worked until midnight to contain the fire to about 18 acres.

Satellite and helicopter flights detected a third fire on Mt. Hurst near the Dishna River, about 55 miles west of McGrath. The fire grew from 5 acres to 150 acres, but since there are no threats to property, fire managers won’t take any action unless it grows.

An updated fire map can be found here.

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