June 11 Alaska Wildland Fire Update
12:00 p.m. – Thanks to rain and cooler temperatures prevailing across much of the state, there were no new wildland fires reported in Alaska on Wednesday, ending a string of 41 consecutive days dating back to May 1 with at least one new fire reported in the state.
Significant precipitation was reported in across the state on Wednesday, with snow accumulating at higher elevations in the Brooks and Alaska ranges. The one exception was the area around Tok in eastern Alaska, where the Chisana River 2 Fire increased by more than 8,000 acres and spread onto the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.
The Chisana River 2 Fire, now estimated at 8,324 acres, is burning approximately 20 miles south of the Alaska Highway and about 25 miles west of the Canadian border. The lightning-caused fire was reported on Tuesday afternoon at 20 acres and was previously confined to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The fire is burning in a limited protection area and there have been no suppression efforts taken as a result.
The fire made a significant run to the northwest overnight Tuesday, however, and crossed onto refuge land, prompting firefighters to initiate structure protection for a refuge administrative cabin about seven miles north of the fire on Stuver Lake. The fire, which is sandwiched on the east and west by old burn areas, is being monitored from the air by state and federal fire managers.
Elsewhere around the state, firefighters continued mop-up activities on other fires. There are still 40 personnel working on the 10-acre Standard Creek Fire, a lightning-caused fire reported on Monday about 20 miles west of Fairbanks. There was minimal fire activity on Wednesday and the fire received rain in the afternoon. Crews completed a second grid around the fire and mopped up any spot fires that were found. The tentative plans today are to grid the entire fire and extinguish all hot spots. Also planned today is the demobilization of the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew. The goal is to have the fire completely contained by Saturday.
The only other fire currently being staffed is the 2,902-acre Seventymile Fire burning about eight miles northwest of Eagle. That fire, started by lightning on May 24, has not shown any growth in several days and is listed as 75 percent contained. The Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshot Crew was released from the fire on Wednesday and the 10 personnel still assigned to the fire spent the day working on the southwest corner with support of a helicopter doing bucket work. Firefighters also extinguished smokes and hot spots identified in a morning infrared flight. That flight revealed no heat on the northwest corner of the fire. One hot spot was detected on the northern perimeter and nine hot spots were detected on the eastern perimeter.
The 249-acre Innoko River Fire burning east of Grayling was demobilized on Wendesday as crews pulled hose lays and pumps around the fire and backhauled supplies off the fire. The fire, which was caused by lightning on June 3, is now in monitor status.
Demobilization of the Aniak staging area used for the 25,260-acre Bogus Creek Fire in southwest Alaska was completed on Wednesday and all personnel are now off the fire, which was started by lightning on May 31. A helitack load from McGrath will continue to monitor the fire as weather permits.
Firefighters also conducted a final grid of the 37-acre Cummings Road Fire approximately 30 miles southwest of Delta Junction on Wednesday. No heat was found on the human-caused fire that started on May 30 and personnel cleaned up around camps and removed hazardous trees. Rehabilitation work on the road is scheduled to begin today.