Tanana Area Fires Update; July 24

Tanana Area Fire Facts at a Glance
TOTAL ACRES: 489,174
Spicer Creek (4 mi. N Tanana) ~ 178,395 acres
Harper Bend (6 mi. SE Tanana) ~ 43,270 acres
Moose Point (~55 mi. W Tanana) ~ 26,600 acres
Kokrine (~50 mi. W Tanana) ~ 4,811 acres
Bering Creek (37 mi. SW Tanana) ~ 236,098 acres
Note: Hay Slough Fire information available from Echeverria’s IMT – below
Date Started: 06/19/2015
Percent Containment: 4%
Personnel: 348, including various support/logistics personnel; Five Type 1 (Hotshot) and six Type 2 crews.
Aircraft: One Type 2 helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter
Equipment: 8 boats, 1 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 and Baker fires are managed by Annamaria Echeverria’s IMT. The Hay Slough Fire continues to be jointly managed by Grant’s and Echeverria’s teams. Well-over 100 miles of the Yukon and Tanana rivers are assigned to Eastern Area IMT. On the Yukon River, responsibility for fire response and structure protection 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.

Yesterday, they flew a reconnaissance flight in the morning and one in the evening and saw intermittent torching and crowning of black and white spruce in unburned pockets in the interior of the fire. There was one spot across Bear Creek and hand crews took direct suppression action. There were no other spots across the line and all of the fire activity was well within the containment line. A palm infrared camera was used on one of the flights to pinpoint locations of intense heat. Maps of primary hot spots were recorded and mapped. These maps are available on the inciweb site found at the bottom of this update.

Along the Bear Creek containment line, crews continued to widen the line using chainsaws. One hot spot was suppressed along the containment line. Along the creek there were two hot spots mopped up. Bears and snags continue to be a safety concern in this area.

In the Site Road and Mission area there were a couple of interior hot spots, however, none were close to, or threatening the line. Patrols, mopped up and continued rehab with heavy equipment and crews. Operations constructed a footbridge across Mission Creek on Tozitna land.

On the upper Yukon River, a few more new structures were identified to be included in the fire structure protection plan. Today, more fire activity is expected within the interior of the fire. Crowning, torching and short runs are expected on the unburned “green islands” of black and white spruce. Crews will continue widening the Bear Creek line and monitor Bear Creek and all containment lines for spot overs. Mopping up hot spots along all lines will continue.

Patrols will continue along Site Road looking for hot spots. Rehabilitation of dozer and hand lines will remain an emphasis in the Site/Mission area. Another reconnaissance flight is planned for today to monitor fire activity. Patrols along the Yukon River will continue to look for and inventory new structures to be included in the fire structure protection plan.

Today’s forecast is partly sunny (25-35%). There will be areas of smoke throughout the day due to the increased fire activity within the interior of the fires and wind shift out of the west. There is a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Maximum temperature will be around 72 degrees, with minimum humidity around 41%. Winds are forecasted out of the west today from 5 to 14 mph. Tonight will be mostly cloudy (45-55%), then becoming partly cloudy. There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms in the evening and isolated showers through the night. Minimum temperature will be around 53 degrees, and humidity between 87-95%. West winds will be 6-14 mph. Gusty and erratic winds are expected near thunderstorms in the evening. Saturday forecast is mostly sunny (35-45%) with isolated showers and thunderstorms throughout the day. Maximum temp 68- 73 degrees and minimum humidity 41%. Winds are expected to become west at 5-10 mph. Expect gusty and erratic winds near the thunderstorms.

Special Announcements: The next public meeting will be held today, July 24th at noon at the Tanana Community Hall to provide updated fire information. West winds today are bringing smoke into Tanana from wildfires to the west. Smoke and air quality indices and alerts can be found on the Air Quality Division website at: http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality/ and Alaska DEC Division of Air Quality at: http://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/Advisories/Index.
The public is advised to avoid traveling Site Road because of the danger of falling trees and heavy equipment.

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 and Baker fires, contact 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 or https://akfireinfo.com/.

-End-

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