Crews begin mop up operations on 15-acre wildfire near Delta

State forestry firefighters on Sunday were mopping up a small wildfire about 20 miles south of Delta Junction that ignited on Saturday as a result of a structure fire that spread into the woods and agricultural fields.
The 5.5 Mile Barley Way Fire was estimated at 15 acres as of Sunday morning. Firefighters from the state Division of Forestry and a local fire department worked late into the night Saturday to contain the fire with support from two helicopters that dropped water on the fire, an air retardant tanker and a bulldozer. The fire was boxed in with retardant, hand lines and a dozer line. More than 40 firefighters were working Sunday to reinforce the dozer and hand lines, according to state forestry officials. Containment is expected by Sunday evening.
The fire was reported at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday after sparks from a grinder caught some hay bales on fire, which then spread to nearby structures and vehicles before spreading into the woods and ag fields.
The fire is a reminder that current conditions are dry enough so that just a spark can ignite a grass fire, which can then lead to a wildfire. Two small grass fires were reported in Fairbanks on Saturday as a result of lawn mowers catching grass on fire, Mike Goyette, a Division of Forestry fire prevention officer in Fairbanks. Both fires were quickly extinguished by state forestry firefighters but they are an indication of how dry conditions are, he said.
“You get vegetation around the exhaust system and the vegetation gets hot and starts smoldering and catches the grass on fire,” Goyette said.
Anyone using any kind of equipment with an exhaust system, whether it’s a lawn mower, chainsaw, four-wheeler or other off-road vehicles should keep a close eye on the engine and exhaust systems to make sure they are clear of grass and other dry vegetation.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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