In this Wednesday, 22 August 2012 photo, smoke from the Dry Creek Fire spreads through the sky after it rekindled from a June 23 lightning strike in Fairbanks, Alaska. The fire, 25 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska, was mapped by a surveillance flight Wednesday. At 28,251 acres, the fire has doubled in size since Sunday. Sam Harrel / AP Photo / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

26 August 2012

(New York Daily News) – Ignited by lightning strikes two months ago, a massive fire rages in Alaska and shrouds the surrounding area beneath a dark blanket of smoke.

The Dry Creek Fire has ravished over 42,000 acres near the Tanana River. Ominous clouds of smoke have stretched 5,000 feet in the air, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Lightning kindled the fire on June 23. Officials haven’t attempted to put out the fire because it is situated in a limited management option area. This designation "allows the fire to burn as nature dictates," said Mel Slater, a spokesman for the state's fire service.

Smoke has been a primary concern for local residents. Senior citizens, young children and people with heart conditions or respiratory problems have been advised to take precautionary measures. Nearby residents, who are particularly sensitive, should reduce prolonged exertion and be cognizant of the health threats posed.

Earlier, strong winds blew the smoke northeast, but it has since drifted to the south.

An air-quality advisory was issued for Fairbanks, North Pole and North Star, reported the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Although the fire is merely 25 miles south of Fairbanks, rain has cleared much of the smoke from the city, said Fairbanks' Air Quality Division.

Smoke has still been drifting in and out of the North Pole, on the other hand. The North Pole is only 18 miles south of where the lighting struck in June.

The fire is one of four currently burning active wildfires in the state, reports Alaska Dispatch.

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army co-own the land where the fire burns.

Authorities continue to monitor the fire's intensity and the threat the drifting smoke poses to locals.

Wildfire rages unchecked in Alaska as blankets of black smoke shrouds Fairbanks area



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