Tanana Area Fires update, July 19

Sunday, 07/19/2015, 9:00a.m.

Tanana Area Fire Facts at a Glance

TOTAL ACRES: 484,948 (as of 7/17/2015)

Eastern Area Incident Management Team

Jim Grant-Incident Commander

Spicer Creek (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 176,714 acres;
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~43,169 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~26,414 acres
Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~4,811 acres;
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~233,840 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: 306, including various support/logistics personnel; Six Type 2 – Initial Attack
crews; One Type 1- Interagency Hotshot Crew
Aircraft: One Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter
Equipment: 12 boats, 1 dozer, 1 excavator, 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, Tozitna Limited

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). The Spicer Creek Fire, which threatens
the village of Tanana, Alaska, is the primary focus. 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. They will be transferring command
today to a smaller organization.

Well-over 100 miles of the Yukon and Tanana rivers are assigned to Eastern Area IMT. On the Yukon River,
responsibility now stretches over 115 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.

Three spike camps are in place to be used when needed. Crews at these camps would be in position to address
structure protection issues along the Yukon and Tanana rivers. They are located at Bible Camp and Wright
Cabin on the Yukon River, and at Redland on the Tanana.

Yesterday, crews continued monitoring and evaluation activities on structures on both rivers. Hose lays have
been established at structures that are potentially threatened by the fires along the rivers. A total of 20 structures
have required hazard fuel reduction around them; 11 of these have plumbing hose lays in place. Several water
pumps are having to be moved to higher ground due to rising water on the Yukon.

Tanana area fires activity was minimal yesterday. Aircraft were not able to fly the fire to update the acreage.
Scattered rain showers again fell intermittently across the area throughout the day, reducing fire activity to
creeping and smoldering. Rainfall varied from less than 0.1” to 0.75” in the area. This moisture is aiding fire
suppression activities.

Firefighters continued direct suppression activities on the Spicer Creek Fire that is threatening Tanana. Five 20-person hand crews continued work on building and improving containment lines between Site Road north of the village and Bear Creek to the northwest.

Crews continued plumbing hose lays as they progressed. Progress was slowed yesterday by crews having to chainsaw
their way through thick brush. Approximately 1.9 miles of containment line has been completed. All
constructed containment lines held again yesterday. Crews completed the containment lines around the third
spotover from the day before. Four crews spiked out overnight.

Also yesterday, firefighters continued air and ground reconnaissance to identify potential access points along the
way for providing support to firefighters. A spike camp site was established closer to the fire to stage crews
overnight, reducing travel time to the fireline.

Helicopter flights were also used to recon for potential helispots and monitor fire behavior. Other crews continued mop-up operations along Site Road, and continue to work on a rehab plan for the dozerline near Mission Creek.

Crews began pulling hose from the dozerline between Site Road and Mission Creek. Mop up was almost completed on Site Road.

Today, crews on the rivers will again be hampered by strong gusty winds which may limit their activities. They will continue to monitor and maintain point protection operations as possible.

Today, six hand crews are focused on construction of firelines and hose lays toward Bear Creek on the Spicer Creek Fire. Efforts to secure this section of the fire have accelerated. Crews are bringing a hose lay from the Yukon River to the division break between Site Road and Bear Creek to supply water to hose lays in both directions.

Also, mop up adjacent to completed containment is underway. Recent moisture has reduced fire activity. It may take three days or more for fuels to dry out again. With predicted winds today, there is an increased threat of falling fire-damaged snag trees, a safety hazard to firefighters. This is being addressed as the containment line work progresses.

This fireline construction is now in its sixth day, and will continue to be a major focus for the next several days. It is estimated that this could take several more days to complete, depending on weather, terrain, fuels, and fire behavior. The four crews working this area will overnight again in a spike camp being established near the division break north of Drop Point 50, about half way between Bear Creek and Site Road. If the weather allows, helicopters will be used to monitor fire behavior and assist in line-holding efforts.

Other crews will continue pulling hose lays and starting rehab on the dozerline between Site Road and Mission Creek.

Bear encounters are becoming an issue with crews.

Today’s forecast is cloudy with scattered rain showers likely throughout the day; chance of wetting rain is 80%. Temperatures will be 59-64, with humidity 46-54%. Winds will shift to the west at 13-15 mph. Chance of wetting rain is 35%. Tonight will be cloudy with isolated rain showers. Temperature will be around 49, and humidity between 76-83%. West winds will be 10-14 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Chance of wetting rain is 0%. Monday will be partly sunny, with isolated rain showers in the afternoon; chance of wetting rain is 0%. Temperatures will be 64-69, with humidity 41-49%. Winds will be west at 7-12 mph.

Special Announcements: The next Tanana public meeting will be held Monday, July 20 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. The public is advised to avoid traveling Site Road because of the danger of falling trees.

For more info:

Please contact Information Officers, Bill Paxton or Kristen Miller, Tanana school ICP:

Phone:  907-987-9835

EMail:  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:

Information Officer:  Brett Haberstick at 907-672-3202

EMail:  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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