Control lines held against severe wind on the 100 Mile Creek Fire

June 17, 2014 9:30 a.m.

Delta Junction – A low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska brought winds from the south, gusting to 40 mph, over the 100 Mile Creek Fire early Monday afternoon.  These winds were anticipated and caused a Red Flag Warning to be issued by the National Weather Service earlier in the day.  Along with the winds came a severe drop in relative humidity.  Between the early morning hours when the wind began picking up and late afternoon, humidity dropped 60 percentage points, finally reaching around 23%.  This weather event was similar to the weather that moved the fire rapidly north on Saturday, June 7.
As the winds picked up, CL-215 scooper aircraft worked to apply water along the northern control to increase the humidity there.  But after several loads, the aircraft were diverted to help control a lightning fire on Chena Hot Springs Road, close to Fairbanks.  (Note:  Initial attack fires normally have priority over established large fires.)
Control lines built over the past week were severely tested by the wind, but they passed muster.  There was no breach of the lines and thus no fire movement to the north.  The only place that the fire spread a bit was on the southeast flank.   This increase in acreage is in an area where firefighters are not too concerned about future spread, as growth is limited there by the fire scar from the 2013 Mississippi Fire.
Also on the north end of the fire, several “islands” of green fuel well within the perimeter of the main fire were consumed naturally by fire without endangering control lines.
Before windy conditions limited helicopter use on Monday, several crews were moved back across the Delta River for demobilization from the fire over the next few days.  If lines continue to hold, the Type 1 team will likely turn the fire over to a Type 3 team by the coming weekend.
The 100 Mile Creek Fire now stands at 23,270 acres.  There are 403 firefighters and support personnel still assigned to the fire.   Full containment (100%) was reached Monday on the part of the fire on State land, north of the military ranges.

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