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YUKON DELTA: Refuge Sees Largest fire in 50 Years
10 Region, August 22, 2005
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Yukon Delta Refuge, the Nation's largest at 20 million acres, is also one of the Nation's largest wetlands located at the confluence of the mighty Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. As a result, Yukon Delta Refuge seldom sees large fire events. However, August of 2005 saw unprecedented smoke blanketing much of the Refuge. More than 100 fires were burning in Alaska including four on the Refuge. The largest, the Talbiksok Fire, reached more than 76,000 acres on August 22. Regional Office, Kenai Refuge and State Division of Forestry provided staff to assist with management of the fires and keeping the public informed. Daily updates were provided to affected villages, local media, and health care providers. The heavy smoke limited aerial observations for most of two weeks. "The hardest part was telling people we couldn't monitor the fire," said Deputy Refuge Manager Doug Staller,"but it was important to keep lines of communication open. People in this area aren't used to that amount of smoke."

As of August 22, 2005, rain and cooler temperatures were aiding in suppression efforts.

Contact Info: Kevin Painter, , kevin_painter@fws.gov



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