Tanana Area Fire updates, July 7

Facts at a Glance
TOTAL ACRES: 329,147

Spicer Creek (6 mi. NE Tanana) ~ 23,555 acres;
Tozitna (4 mi. NW Tanana) ~85,130 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~23,761 acres Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Hay Slough (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~ 43,237 acres
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~71,285 acres
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~22,760 acres;
Blind River (20 mi. SW Tanana) ~53,607 acres

Date Started: 06/19/2015

Percent Containment: 0%

Personnel: 299, 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

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.

Monday, fires continued to spread, but with less intensity than predicted; however, the northern portion of the Spicer fire spread west and joined the Tozitna fire. A portion of the Tozitna fire (east of the Site Road and approximately 1 ½ miles north of the nearest inhabited structure) spotted across the Site Road to the west. Several other hotspots were also reported along Tozitna’s southern flank, near Bear Creek, but spread to the south was limited. Late in the day, while visibility allowed, fire managers utilized a helicopter and scooper plane for water drops along the southern flank. 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.

Harper Bend fire spread west, and Hay Slough fire spread west, north, and made a run to the northeast Monday night due to strong southerly winds. Structure protection near those fires along the Tanana River continued, and crews began performing structure assessments east of the Hay Slough fire in earnest. Although the Kokrine fire did not grow, the Moose Point fire just to the west of Kokrine, continued to spread. The Bering Creek and Blind River fires, which have grown significantly since Saturday, are now burning along the south side of the Yukon River and have nearly joined. Crews continued structure protection efforts near fires along the Yukon River (between Tanana and Moose Point fire.)

As of Tuesday morning, the Tozitna and Spicer Creek fires are still approximately 1 ½ miles north and 1 mile west of the nearest inhabited structure along the Site road and approximately 3 miles northwest of the nearest inhabited structures in Tanana. Tanana skies were quite dark early Tuesday due to all the fire activity (both from area fires and fires to the south), as well as a thick cloud cover. Cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity are expected through Wednesday, so firefighters will be seeking opportunities to use direct suppression tactics along the Tozitna fire’s southern flank where feasible. If visibility improves, air support will also be utilized to try to check southerly spread.

Crews will continue structure assessments and point protection north and east of Fish Lake, near the Hay Slough fire today. As crews engage there, an Incident Management Team will be mobilized to Manley Hot Springs in the next few days to manage both the Baker fire and the Hay Slough fire. Until then, Staats’ Type 2 IMT will continue to manage the Hay Slough fire from Tanana. Fire crews will continue performing structure protection along the Tanana and Yukon Rivers, between Harper Bend and Moose Point, as fire conditions necessitate. Although fire intensity may moderate Tuesday, the public is advised to stay vigilant to changing conditions and the potential for evacuation.

Special Announcements: A public meeting will be held today, 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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