Tanana Area Fires update; July 16

Tanana Area Fire Facts at a Glance
TOTAL ACRES: 478,731

Spicer Creek (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 175,705 acres;
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~42,967 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~26,237 acres
Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~229,011 acres

NOTE: Hay Slough Fire information available from Greer’s Rocky Mountain Black IMT; see contact information below.

Date Started: 06/19/2015
Percent Containment: 1%
Personnel: 319, including various support/logistics personnel; Five Type 2 – Initial Attack crews; Three Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crews
Aircraft: One Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter
Equipment: 16 boats, 2 dozer, 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, Tanana School District

Management responsibility for the  Spicer Creek, Harper Bend, Moose Point, Kokrine, and Bering Creek fires is assigned to Jim Grant’s Eastern Area Incident Management Team (IMT). Major focus is the Spicer Creek Fire, which threatens the village of Tanana. The Hay Slough Fire is jointly managed by Grant’s IMT and Greer’s Rocky Mountain IMT Black. Information regarding the Hay Slough and Baker fires is being managed by the Rocky Mountain IMT; their contact information is provided below.

Well-over 100 miles of the Yukon and Tanana rivers are assigned to the IMT. Firefighters have found approximately 50 structures, and continue to search by air and water for presence of other structures on both of these rivers and feeder streams. On the Yukon River, the IMT area of responsibility stretches almost 110 miles from Moose Point upstream to the mouth of Stevens Creek. On the Tanana River, responsibility extends from the Yukon upstream to the mouth of the Cosna River; a distance of over 35 miles.

Light rain showers and cloud cover allowed firefighters to continue direct suppression activities on the Spicer Creek Fire. Three 20-person hand crews spent yesterday working on establishing containment lines from Site Road to Bear Creek. They completed almost one mile of fireline yesterday, plumbing hose lays as they progressed. Other crews continued mop-up along Site Road. Firefighters remain concerned about the safety of the public; please avoid traveling Site Road for the next few days because of the danger of falling trees.

Today, crews will continue monitoring and evaluating structures on both the Yukon and Tanana rivers. Four spike camps have crews in position to address structure protection issues along the rivers. These camps are located at Bible Camp, Wright Cabin, 16-mile Island on the Yukon River, and Redland on the Tanana.

Other crews will continue to construct firelines toward Bear Creek on the Spicer Creek Fire, and address the threat of falling fire-damaged snag trees as they go, a safety hazard to firefighters. This fireline construction is now in its third day, will continue to be a major focus for the next few days. An additional three hand crews are being deployed in this effort to speed up the effort. It is estimated that this could take another four days or more to complete, depending on weather, terrain, fuels, and fire behavior. Helicopters will be used to recon for potential helispots along the fireline, and to monitor fire behavior. Crews will also be working the dozerline that takes off to the east from Site Road to Mission Creek in anticipation of a future burnout operation. A dozer and excavator will be starting rehab of the dozer line where possible to mitigate line construction effects.

Today’s forecast is mostly cloudy with areas of smoke, and isolated thunderstorms and rain showers in the morning. High temperature will be around 71 and relative humidity dropping to near 41%. Winds are forecast light, shifting to southeast at 5-6 mph in the afternoon. Gusty and erratic winds are expected near thunderstorms in the morning. Chance of wetting rain is 6%. Tonight will be mostly cloudy, with areas of smoke. Temperature will be 45-51, and humidity between 85-94%. Scattered rain showers are expected after midnight. Winds will be southeast at 7-8 mph. Chance of wetting rain is 0%. Friday will be mostly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms and scattered rain showers; chance of rain is 12%. Temperatures will be 59-64, with humidity around 49%. Winds will be south 5-7 at 7-12 mph.

Special Announcements: The next Tanana public meeting will be held tomorrow (Friday, July 17) at noon at the Tanana Community Hall to provide updated fire information to Tanana residents and other interested parties. 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 still in the unhealthy to hazardous air quality range. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR 5/6075) is in place until further notice each day around Tanana Airfield from 8:00a.m. to 10:00p.m. Visit http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html for further information on the TFR.

For more info: Please contact Information Officers, Bill Paxton or Kristen Miller, Tanana school ICP, at 907-987-9835 or TananaAreaFires2015@gmail.com. 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 the Hay Slough fire, contact Brett Haberstick at 907-672-3202 or ManleyAreaFires@gmail.com To obtain fire information regarding other fires in Alaska, contact the Alaska Joint Information Center at 907 356-5511.

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