Tanana Area Fire update, July 1

Tanana Area Fires

Spicer Creek, Tozitna, Jackson, Hay Slough, Moose Point, Kokrine, Blind River, Bering Creek, Harper Bend Fires

Facts at a Glance

TOTAL ACRES: 211,697

Spicer Creek (6 mi. NE Tanana) ~ 23,555 acres;
Tozitna (4 mi. NW Tanana) ~52,744 acres
Jackson (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 4,456 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~8,403 acres Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Hay Slough (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~ 35,347 acres
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~37,482 acres
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~7,127 acres;
Blind River (20 mi. SW Tanana) ~37,742 acres
Date Started: 06/19/2015
Percent Containment: 0%
Personnel: 251, including Various support/logistics personnel; Four Type 2 – IA crews; two, Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crews.
Aircraft: One, Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter.
Equipment:8 boats, 3 dozers, 3 watertenders
Cause: Lightning
Cooperating Agencies: Alaska Fire Service, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Division of Forestry, Tanana Tribal Council, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Doyon, Tanana Volunteer Fire Department

The Spicer Creek, Tozitna, Jackson (formerly the spot fire east of the Tozitna), Hay Slough, Harper Bend, Moose Point, Kokrine, Blind River, and Bering Creek 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 June 22, from an Incident Command Post located at Tanana school.

Wednesday, high humidity and dense smoke near the Tozitna, Jackson, and Spicer Creek fires helped dampen fire activity, although the Jackson fire continued backing downhill to the south and southwest and the Tozitna fire continued moving to the east and north. At present, the Jackson fire is located approximately three miles north of the closest inhabited structure along the Site Road, and the Tozitna fire is about 1 ½ miles west of the nearest inhabited structures along the Site Road. Firefighters around the village of Tanana and the Mission Hill area (east of Tanana) continued to improve existing fuel breaks, dozer lines, and hose-lay. To date hundreds of dumptruck loads of slash resulting from fuel break construction along the Site Road have been hauled away. Crews spiked along the Yukon (both upstream and downstream of Tanana), as well as up the Tanana River near Harper Bend made great progress Wednesday performing fuel reduction around known structures.

Fire intensity and spread on the Hay Slough and Harper Bend fires was also reduced somewhat Wednesday; however, fires downstream of Tanana (Blind River, Bering Creek, and Moose Point, as well as fires west of the Tanana Fire Management Zone) did make short runs and develop columns late in the day. Hard Luck fire, located west of Moose Point fire, also became quite active and eventually ran into the Moose Point fire late in the day.

Thursday, crews will continue structure protection efforts around the historic mission and cemetery on Mission Hill and fuel breaks north along the Tanana-Allakaket winter trail. Operations will also continue down the Yukon River, between Tanana and the Moose Point fire, with structure assessments and fuel reduction efforts around structures.

Part of the ongoing plan is to closely monitor the Tozitna and Jackson fires movement. If those fires continue to back downhill, Incident Commander Roger Staats noted, “We should be able to meet the fire on our terms and deal with it.” Should changing wind conditions push either the Tozitna or Jackson fires southward toward town or structures, contingency plans could include burnout operations along fuel breaks or dozer lines. Residents should remain vigilant in case changing fire conditions necessitate an evacuation or moving to the identified safety zone.

Special Announcements: A public meeting will be held Friday, July 3, at noon at the Tanana Community Hall to provide fire information updates. A voluntary evacuation notice remains in effect for the village of Tanana. A dense smoke advisory remains in effects for the Tanana area, with air quality in the unhealthy to hazardous air quality range.

For more info: Please contact Information Officers, Jennifer Costich or Steve Till, Tanana school ICP, at 907-987-9835 or NorthIdahoTeamOne@gmail.com. Inciweb (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov) also provides fire information. From the Inciweb homepage, select “Spicer Creek” or “Tozitna” fires from the drop down list at the top right of the page. To obtain fire information regarding other fires in Alaska, contact the Alaska Joint Information Center at 907-356-5511.

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