Tanana Area Fires Update and map; July 17

Tanana Area Fire Facts at a Glance
TOTAL ACRES: 484,188

Spicer Creek (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 176,226 acres;
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~43,009 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~26,414 acres
Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~233,728 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: 334, 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, Alaska. 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 the 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 the mouth of the Nowitna River near Moose Point upstream to 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.

Tanana area fires were more active yesterday. Firefighters continued direct suppression activities on the Spicer Creek Fire, which poses a threat to the village of Tanana. Five 20-person hand crews spent yesterday working on building containment lines from Site Road toward Bear Creek. These lines are being built as close to the active fire as safely possible to secure the fire’s edge. They continued plumbing hose lays as they moved along. They made slow but steady progress, completing approximately one mile of fireline yesterday. They now have approximately 1.2 miles complete with hose lays. There was a spot over the line of about 3-5 acres, but resources were able to get a containment line around it with air support. Helicopters and small air tankers dropped water to slow the main fire and contain the spot fire. All constructed lines held.

Firefighters continued air and ground reconnaissance to identify potential access points along the way for providing support to firefighters, and to locate a possible spike camp site to stage crews overnight. Helicopter flights were also used to recon for potential helispots along the fireline and monitor fire behavior. Other crews continued mop-up operations 100-feet into the black along Site Road, and worked on rehab and improving the dozerline toward Mission Creek.

Three spike camps have crews in position to address structure protection issues along the rivers. These spike camps are located at Bible Camp and Wright Cabin on the Yukon River, and at Redland on the Tanana. Today, crews at the three spike camps will continue monitoring and evaluating structures on both the Yukon and Tanana rivers. Hose lays have been established at structures that are potentially threatened by the fires along the ivers. The crew at 16-mile Island was re-positioned earlier today to work on the containment line between Site Road and Bear Creek.

Six hand crews are continuing construction of firelines and hose lays toward Bear Creek on the Spicer Creek Fire again today. They will be addressing the threat of falling fire-damaged snag trees as they go, a safety hazard to firefighters. The westernmost crew will also be scouting for containment line routes and anchor points to tie into Bear Creek to the west. This fireline construction is now in its fourth day, and will continue to be a major focus for the next few days. It is estimated that this could take another three 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, monitor fire behavior, and assist in line-holding efforts. Crews will also be working the dozerline that takes off to the east from Site Road to Mission Creek in anticipation of a possible burnout operation. Hose lays are being checked and tested daily to ensure they are working properly. It is planned to utilize a dozer and excavator for rehab work on the dozer line where possible to mitigate earlier line construction effects. Two other crews continue work on Site Road, removing snags, and mopping up 100-feet into the black from Site Road. Another five crews are on order. Two of these are replacement crews for ones that have timed out.

Today’s forecast is cloudy with numerous rain showers and isolated thunderstorms; chance of wetting rain is 12%. Temperatures will be 59-64, with humidity around 56%. Winds will be south at 8-14 mph. Gusty and erratic winds are expected near thunderstorms. Tonight will be mostly cloudy, with areas of smoke through the night. Isolated thunderstorms are expected in the evening. Numerous rain showers are predicted through the night. Temperature will be 49 54, and humidity between 87-97%. Winds will be south at 8-14 with gusts near 25 mph. Gusty and erratic winds are expected near thunderstorms in the evening. Chance of wetting rain is 21%. Saturday will be cloudy with rain showers likely; chance of wetting rain is 26%. Temperatures will be around 58, with humidity around 68%. Winds will be southwest 9-14 mph, with gusts to 25 mph.

Special Announcements: The next Tanana public meeting will be held today (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. The public is advised to avoid traveling Site Road for the next few days because of the danger of falling trees.

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 “Tanana Area Fires” 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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