Tanana Area Fires update, July 8

Facts at a Glance

TOTAL ACRES: 334,584

Spicer Creek (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 109,627 acres;
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~23,761 acres;
Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Hay Slough (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~ 44,750 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) ~57,590 acres

Date Started: 06/19/2015

Percent Containment: 0%

Personnel: 278, including various support/ logistics personnel; Type 2 IA Crews-2; Type 1 Interagency Hot Shot Crews-4

Equipment:  16 boats, 3 dozers, 3 watertenders

Aircraft: One, Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter.

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 Departments, 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.

Tuesday, all the fires listed above continue to spread, but not at the rates predicted. Because the Tozitna and Spicer Creek fires joined, they will hereafter be referred to as the Spicer Creek fire. The Spicer Creek fire continues to spread slowly to the south and is still about 1 ½ miles north and 1 mile west of the nearest inhabited structure along the Site Road. Dense smoke blanketed Tanana area most of the day which helped reduce fire spread and intensity; however, limited visibility also hampered air operations. Crews around the community of Tanana (including in the Site Road and Mission Hill areas) continued to improve existing structure protection and worked to add a new contingency line.

In the early morning hours, the Hay Slough fire made a significant run to the northeast, burning past three mining claims northeast of Fish Lake; however, no structures have been lost. This fire growth also necessitated pre-placement of sprinkler systems around some structures along the south shore of the Yukon River, north of the Hay Slough fire.

By late Tuesday afternoon a strong west wind pushed upriver on the Yukon, hitting some of the fires in the area and resulting in sizable growth on the Blind River fire (which has now almost joined the Bering Creek fire.) Structure assessments and fuel reduction around structures on the river corridors (between Tanana and Moose Point fire) is complete and enables fairly fast hoselay, pump, and sprinkler installation for structures as fire growth necessitates.

Wednesday, a slight warming and drying trend is expected which could potentially increase fire intensity and spread for all the fires in the area. Crews will continue with fuel break and contingency line improvement around the community of Tanana (including outlying structures in the Site Road and Mission Hill areas), and fire managers will seek opportunities to use air tankers to help stop southerly spread, west of the Site Road.

Crews will continue structure assessments and point protection north and east of Fish Lake, near the Hay Slough fire today. Fire managers there will be working with an incoming Incident Management Team which will be positioned in Manley Hot Springs within a day or two 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 point protection along the Tanana and Yukon Rivers, between Harper Bend and Moose Point, as fire conditions necessitate.

Special Announcements: A public meeting will be held Friday, July 10 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 TananaAreaFires2015@gmail.com. (Those already receiving updates from NorthIdahoTeamOne@gmail.com will begin receiving updates from the new email listed above.) Inciweb (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov) also provides fire information. From the Inciweb homepage, select “Spicer Creek” 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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