Weather increases fire activity on the Alatna Complex

Alatna Complex 7-6

Alatna Complex Map 7/6/16

The warmer and drier weather accompained by wind on Monday and Tuesday resulted in an increase in fire activity. Yesterday, the Siruk Creek Fire (#342) saw fire behavior increase on the northeast perimeter. A helicopter with an external bucket was utilized to drop water on the hot spots. Crews are working to clear fuels along the fires edge to minimize the possibility of heat moving outside of the current fire perimeter. The Siruk Creek Fire is now 25% contained.

The Chebanika Creek Fire (#364) also experienced an increase in fire activity on the southern perimeter yesterday, 7/5. Firefighters continue to work on extinguishing the hot spots and securing the line around the fires edge while ensuring their presence will have minimal impact on the critical sheefish and caribou habitat in the area.

Last night fire officials utilized an infrared camera from the air to search for heat on fires in the complex. Heat was detected on the Tabeascot Lake Fire (#394), therefore, four firefighters returned to the fire today to extinguish any hot spots.

The Hogatza River Fire (#337) was flown and remapped yesterday. It has grown to 477 acres, most growth was to the south away from Norutak Lake where the values at risk are located. The fire plots in a limited protection area so the management strategy is to utilize natural fire barriers where possible to reduce the hazards of exposure to firefighters. Fire personnel will take action if needed for point protection of the cabins and allotments near the lake.

The Bergman Creek (#323) and Norutak Lake (#335) fires were flown on 7/5 and no significant changes were observed. Fire officials will continue to monitor the fires via agency aircraft.

The Alatna Complex incident management organization has been tasked with initial attack responsibilities in the area. Two new lightning ignited fires were detected last night during a monitoring flight. The Siruk Creek 2 Fire (#398) is approximately 1/10 of an acre. The Hog Fire (#399) is 10 acres and burning in black spruce with a 75% active perimeter at 2330. Both fires plot in limited protection areas with no values nearby and will be monitored by agency personnel. 

The most up to date information and maps of the Alatna Complex Fires is available online at www.akfireinfo.com and will be posted in the Allakaket and Alatna Tribal Council buildings, as well as the Allakaket school, store, and post office. Further information is available by contacting the Alatna Complex public information officer, Celeste Prescott at 907-968-2205 or alatnacomplex@gmail.com.

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Lightning striking on Sunday evening near the Allakaket airport. Photo by Earnie Strom

For information about fires statewide, visit www.akfireinfo.com or call the Alaska Interagency Information Center at 907-356-5511. In addition, you can follow BLM Alaska Fire Service on Facebook.

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 240 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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