Tanana Area Fire update, July 3

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

Facts at a Glance

TOTAL ACRES: 219,255

Spicer Creek (6 mi. NE Tanana) ~ 23,555 acres;  Tozitna (4 mi. NW Tanana) ~59,146 acres
Jackson (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 5,642 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, 2 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. Roger Staats’ North Idaho Incident Management Team (IMT) is located at the Tanana school and began managing these fires June 22.

Thursday, increased westerly winds fanned portions of the Tozitna and some other area fires, as well as hampering boat transport along the Yukon River. The Tozitna fire spread primarily to the north and east (and somewhat to the south) and joined the Jackson fire’s southwestern flank late in the day. Meanwhile, little growth occurred on the Spicer Creek fire. The northeast portion of the Hay Slough fire became active late in the day due to winds, and the Harper Bend fire continued backing to the south and west towards the Chitanana River. The Bering Creek and Blind River fires were very active late Thursday and likely incurred significant growth, although infrared and helicopter flights were not available to confirm the growth.

As of Friday morning, the Tozitna fire is located approximately 2½ miles north and 1¼ miles west of the closest inhabited structure along the Site Road. Firefighters continued to improve existing fuel breaks, dozer lines, and hose-lay around the village of Tanana and the Mission Hill area (east of Tanana). Crews spiked out along the Yukon River (between Tanana and the Moose Point fire) continued performing fuel reduction around known structures. Dense smoke, from both Tanana area fires and other fires to the west, continues to intermittently hamper both air and boat operations (including reconnaissance missions, as well as supply and personnel transport.)

Friday, firefighters will begin looking for opportunities to engage direct suppression efforts along the Tozitna fire’s southern flanks, from appropriate anchor points (such as the Site Road and an unnamed trail towards a spring along upper Bear Creek.) “After a lot of hard work to protect structures, it’s time to go after the fire where ever we can,” according to Incident Commander Roger Staats. Crews will continue structure protection efforts around the historic mission and cemetery on Mission Hill and fuel breaks north along the Site Road. Operations will also continue down the Yukon River, between Tanana and the Moose Point fire, with structure assessments and fuel reduction efforts around structures.

Special Announcements: A public meeting will be held today, 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 effect 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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