Fires in Tanana area continue to grow

June 24, 12 p.m.

Facts at a Glance

Size:

Spicer Creek ~ 21,000 acres;

Tozitna ~33,000 acres

Moose Point ~5,900 acres Kochrine ~1,500 acres;

Hay Slough ~ 24,000 acres

Bering Creek & Chitanana ~19,800 acres

Harper Bend ~4,300 acres;

Blind River ~18,500 acres

Date Started:

06/19/2015

Percent Containment:

0%

Personnel:

Two, Type 2 – IA crews; One, Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crew; various support personnel

Personnel:

Two, Type 2 – IA crews; One, Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crew; various support personnel

Equipment:

6 boats

Cause:

Lightning

Cooperating Agencies:

Alaska Fire Service, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Division of Forestry, Doyon, Tanana Chiefs Council (TCC)

The Spicer Creek, Tozitna, Hay Slough, Moose Point, Kochrine, Blind River, Chitanana, Bering Creek, and Harper Bend fires are all burning on the AFS- Tanana Fire Management Zone. Most of those started as a result of lightning storms on Friday, June 19th . Roger Staats’ North Idaho Incident Management Team (IMT) began managing these fires at 06:00a.m. Monday, June 22. An Incident Command Post is located at the Tanana school.

Spicer Creek fire is burning approximately seven miles northeast of Tanana, Alaska. The Tozitna fire is burning approximately four miles northwest of Tanana. The Hay Slough and Harper Bend fires are burning approximately six miles southeast of Tanana. Moose Point and Kochrine fires are burning approximately fifty miles downstream of Tanana to the west/southwest. Bering Creek and Chitanana fires merged on June 23rd and will be referred to as the Bering Creek fire, and they are burning approximately thirty-seven miles southwest of Tanana, south of the Yukon River. The Blind River fire is about twenty miles southwest of Tanana and is also south of the Yukon River.

Tuesday, most of the fires in the surrounding area actively grew, with several fire columns being visible from Tanana. Due to limited resources, fire managers are focused on structure protection efforts in the Moose Point area and community and structure protection efforts in Tanana. Tuesday, although fire behavior was not as extreme as Monday, both the Tozitna and Spicer Creek fires spread, primarily to the east, posing a threat to both the community of Tanana, as well as homes on the outskirts of Tanana. Crews continued work to prepare an indirect fuel break to protect Tanana, working eastward from the airstrip towards the Tanana-Allakaket (also known as the Site or White Alice) Road. As of Wednesday morning, the leading edge of the Tozitna fire was approximately four miles northwest of the town, 0.6 miles west of the closest point to Bear Creek, and approximately 1.9 miles west of the closest point to Tanana-Allakaket Road.

After thick smoke began to dissipate enough to allow air transport, TCC and local Village Public Safety Officer, Clinton Wiehl, began the process of evacuating elders, young children (and families with young children), as well as those with respiratory, ambulatory, and/or immune-compromised conditions.) All 62 identified individuals were evacuated to Fairbanks, and TCC (working with Red Cross) coordinated shelter for those evacuees.

Near Moose Point and Kochrine fires, firefighters continued great progress implementing structure protection and microwave tower point protection efforts. As of Tuesday, most of the structure protection, including hose-lay and sprinklers needed for the Kochrine Bible Camp and a nearby cabin have been implemented.

The Hay Slough fire continued spreading in all directions Tuesday but primarily to the southwest towards Harper Bend on the Tanana River. The Hay Slough fire is potentially a future threat to several mines east of Fish Lake in the Boulder Creek area, as well as the “Road to Tanana” construction area, although many of the crews and equipment there have already withdrawn to safer locations. The Harper Bend fire also grew Tuesday and is now approximately 4,300 acres. The Bering and Chitanana fires merged Tuesday, after active growth on Monday. The Blind River fire (previously unnamed) was detected on Monday and spread to approximately 18,850 acres by Tuesday night. To date, all fires have been too intense for direct suppression efforts; therefore, indirect attack efforts are being implemented and point protection of structures is being implemented where feasible.

Special Announcements:

A voluntary evacuation notice remains in effect for the community of Tanana.

For more info:

Please contact Information Officer, Jennifer Costich at 907-987-9835, in the Tanana school ICP or

NorthIdahoTeamOne@gmail.com if you have questions concerning these fires. To obtain other fire information in Alaska, contact the Alaska Joint Information Center at 907-356-5511.

-End-

 

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