Tanana Area Fires update, July 6

Monday, 07/06/2015, 10:00a.m. For Immediate Release

Facts at a Glance

TOTAL ACRES: 290,985

Spicer Creek (6 mi. NE Tanana) ~ 23,555 acres;
Tozitna (4 mi. NW Tanana) ~72,977 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~22,989 acres Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Hay Slough (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~ 40,402 acres
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~61,066 acres
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~18,633 acres;
Blind River (20 mi. SW Tanana) ~37,742 acres
Date Started: 06/19/2015

Percent Containment: 0%
Personnel: 298, including various support/ logistics personnel; Three Type 2 – IA crews; four, Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crews.
Aircraft: One, Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter.
Equipment: 16 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, City of Tanana.

The Spicer Creek, 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) began managing these fires June 22 and has an Incident Command Post (ICP) located at the Tanana school.

Sunday’s fire intensity and spread was moderated by a combination of slight cloud cover and light precipitation, as well as dense smoke that pooled in the Yukon River valley following the significant fire growth Saturday. Fire managers estimated acreages for today’s report by using satellite data imagery because infrared flights were not available. Increased acreages reflect the substantial fire growth Saturday. Crews around the community of Tanana (including in the Site Road and Mission Hill areas) continued to augment the existing structure protection with additional pumps. Firefighters spiked along the Yukon River continued to implement structure protection measures for at-risk structures near the Moose Point, Kokrine, and Blind River fires. Additionally, because of the extreme fire growth in the Hay Slough and Harper Bend fires, structure protection along the Tanana River was also implemented, and fire managers sought opportunities to begin ground-based assessments and point protection efforts around mines east of Fish Lake.

As of Monday morning, the Tozitna fire is still approximately 1 ½ miles north and 1 mile west of the closest inhabited structure along the Site Road, but the Tozitna and Spicer Creek fires are nearly joined to the north (if they have not joined already.) Firefighters will continue improving their existing hose lays, pump systems, and fuel breaks around the Tanana community and outlying structures. Gusty easterly winds, low relative humidities, high temperatures, and the potential for afternoon thunderstorms are forecast for today, and if the dense smoke lifts as expected, there is a high potential for extreme fire intensity, spread, and growth today. Smoke column development is likely.

Fire managers continue to reassess fire activity and management actions based on new fire perimeters and predicted fire growth. As Operations Section Chief, Dave Crousser, emphasized, “we have a great plan for structure and community protection, but we’ll need to be patient to determine if we need to execute that plan.” Fire managers will maintain close contact with Village Public Safety Officer, Clinton Wiehl, in case evacuations become necessary. Crews up the Tanana River and down the Yukon River have completed structure assessments surrounding the fire areas and will continue providing point-protection for structures as fire growth necessitates.

Special Announcements: A public meeting will be held Tuesday, July 7, 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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