BLM Alaska Fire Service fights fire near Russian Mission

June 3, 2016 – The BLM Alaska Fire Service is busy battling a fire burning about 19 miles north of Russian Mission. There is a good amount of mountainous terrain between the fire and Russian Mission to keep the flames from threatening the village. The fire, which was reported to the BLM AFS dispatch center in Galena at about 9:30 a.m. today, was estimated to be approximately 40 acres by about 3 p.m. The fire was reportedly spotted by an aircraft flying in the area.

There are 24 BLM AFS smokejumpers on the ground working on what has been named the Kuykukutuk River Fire. Four Fire Boss water scoopers and an Alaska Division of Forestry air retardant tanker are working throughout the day, trying to slow the fire down. Due to the remoteness of the fire, another aircraft with an air tactical coordinator on board is synchronizing the tactical aircraft and airspace over the fire. The 20-person Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshot Crew is scheduled to join the suppression effort tomorrow.

The fire has been exhibiting a wide range of activity due to burning through mostly black spruce with a mixture of hardwoods and willows. It’s burning in a southerly direction and on a slight slope. The weather in the area has been mostly sunny with a little bit of a breeze.

For more information, contact Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS public affairs specialist at email eipsen@blm.gov or by calling (907)356-5511 or (907)388-2159.

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