Contact: Public Information Officer: Bob MacGregor
Phone: 907-656-6796 or 907-656-8282
What: Galena Zone Fires
Location: A series of fires on both sides of the Yukon River within the Galena Fire Management Zone and the western end of the Tanana Zone. The major firefighting efforts at this time are concentrated on 6 fires on the south side of the Yukon River below the village of Ruby and on another 2 fires on both banks of the river near the village of Nulato.
Fire Names: Nulato #458, Kaiyuh #351, Ruby Slough #423, Sulatna #429, Dome Creek #478, Bruno Creek #479, Big Creek #533 and Eldorado #576.
Size: Approximately 90,000 acres.
Nulato Fires: Firefighting was kept to minimal levels on Saturday in vicinity of Koyukuk village to allow residents to conduct a funeral and potlatch to honor a Tribal Elder who had recently passed away. The Nulato (#458), Nulato River (#487), Nulato River 2 (#489), Nulato River 3 (#492) and South Fork (#560) fires have all burned together and are now called the Nulato Fire. The fires in the Nulato area were largely inactive on Saturday allowing crews to continue the mop-up around New Town and Old Town. The Kaiyuh (#351) had limited growth and is still contained south of the Yukon River and within a large wetland complex. Analysts feel there is a very low probability that the Kaiyuh Fire will cross the Yukon River.
Ruby Fires: As the sun came out on Saturday afternoon the fire activity on the combined Bruno Creek (#479) and Dome Creek (#478) fires accelerated and pushed by east winds spotted across to the west side of the Poorman Road along a broad two mile front. Scooper planes, which can pick up over 1,000 gallons by sliding their fuselages through water bodies, were called in to slow the fire’s progression late last night. The fire was estimated to have grown by 2,000 acres across Poorman Road approximately ½ mile north of 14 Mile Cabin. The public is urged to limit travel on Poorman Road to minimize conflicts with the firefighting forces. Long-term Fire Analysts working with Hutton’s Team had projected fire growth in this area based on the terrain, fuels and anticipated weather. The Pennsylvania #2 crew will be moved from Nulato to the Ruby area to bolster firefighting efforts along Poorman Road. The Big Creek (#533) Fire continues to push to the northeast, fire managers were able to fly over it and assess the threat to structures that lay in the fires projected path. Six smokejumpers will finish cooling down the Sulatna (#429) Fire on Saturday and plan on coming back to Galena tonight.
Other Galena Zone Fires: The Alaska Fire Service is planning on putting resources on some of the fires outside of the Ruby and Nulato areas now that the threats to those villages have subsided.
Weather: There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms in the area today with accompanying swirling winds that can produce unpredictable fire behavior. Forecasts call for warmer and drier weather toward the end of the week and no chance of wetting rains in the foreseeable future. This forecast will put a premium on firefighting efforts over the next few days when temperatures will be relatively cool with higher humidity.