June 30, 2015
Contact: Public Information Officers: Bob MacGregor & Peri Suenram
Phone: 907-987-9838 *Note New Phone*
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 5 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, Bruno Creek #479, Big Creek #533 and Eldorado #576.
Size: Approximately 100,000 acres.
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The sun finally broke through the smoke layer at 3:00 Monday and with accompanying drops in the humidity to the 20% range, fires across the interior of Alaska reacted by becoming instantly active and starting to move. The Nulato Fire began moving through an island of unburned fuels south of the village that had been missed by the fires on June 22, jumped the Nulato River and again threatened Nulato. Firefighters utilized a water dropping helicopter with a quick turnaround in a nearby slough to slow the advance. Firefighting efforts in the Nulato area on Tuesday will be to cool down the advancing front of the fire and making sure structures are protected along the south edge of the village. The north end of the Nulato Fire is also retaining a lot of heat and slowly advanced toward Koyukuk and Last Chance. Crew members and villagers in Koyukuk are conducting drills to train for what to do if the fire does reach the village. Fire managers are using a long-term analysis developed by Team members that showed that by targeting suppression efforts on a couple of spot fires just beyond the northeast edge of the fire the advance toward Koyukuk could be significantly set back. 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.
The hotter and drier conditions also caused the Bruno Fire to wake up and move to the east with spot fires being thrown out up to a quarter mile ahead of the fire perimeter. Firefighters that had been mopping up the Ruby Slough Fire were moved to the Poorman Road to assist with structure protection at the cabins at 14 Mile, 10 Mile, 7½ mile and 7 mile. A new communications repeater set at the top of Boston Dome will improve radio contact throughout the Ruby area. The public is urged to limit travel on Poorman Road to minimize conflicts with the firefighting forces.
Other Galena Zone Fires: The Zone Fire Management Officer flew the fires last night to assess opportunities on where deployment of resources will do the most benefit.
Weather: Isolated thunderstorms will continue to be a possibility on Tuesday. Conditions will be cloudy with a chance for showers. Temperatures will be in the 70’s and humidity in the upper 30’s to low 40’s. Saturday and Sunday look to be significantly warmer and drier and create the most challenging conditions for firefighters this week.