BLM AFS busy with Yukon River fires

July 16, 2016 – The BLM Alaska Fire Service has been busy with fires along the Yukon River corridor that were threatening structures upriver from Rampart and burning near a Bible camp downriver from Tanana.

A load of eight smokejumpers are divided between the Telegraph (#532) and the Telegraph 2 (#534) fires that are one mile apart and about 3.5 miles north of Kokrine Hills Bible Camp. The smokejumpers, with the aid of two water-scooping Fire Bosses have halted the fire spread, and are working to complete control lines around the fires. The Telegraph fire was spotted at 11:04 a.m. and was reported as backing and creeping in state lands in a full protection area. Telegraph 2 was spotted at 12:49 p.m. burning in a full protection area on state land.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Lakes Fire (#520) grew to 750 acres and was threatening several fish camps and cabins along the south bank of the Yukon River. The fire was pushed by strong winds out of the west and burning in tundra scattered with spruce trees. Eight smokejumpers parachuted in Saturday while another smokejumper and two fire specialists launched a boat at the Yukon River bridge on the Dalton Highway to the fire to help those already on the ground. This fire was spotted Friday night, but because it was burning in a limited protection area and available initial attack firefighting resources were busy on other fires in Alaska, efforts to protect the fish camps and cabin were planned for Saturday.

These three fires fall within the BLM AFS Tanana Management Zone. The fires have been fueled by strong winds that are predicted to continue through the night. There will be a chance of precipitation late tomorrow to help moderate fire activity. Of Alaska’s eight new fires on Saturday, six of them popped up in the Tanana Zone.

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

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About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 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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