July 17, 9 p.m. – Firefighters battling a fire near dozens of cabins on the Salcha River continued to get a helping hand from Mother Nature on Sunday as more rain fell on the fire.
The 1,170-acre Mid Salcha Fire is no longer threatening recreational cabins along the south bank of the river and the rain that fell on Sunday, coupled with one-half inch of rain that fell overnight Friday, has helped crews make good progress securing the fireline closest to the cabins.
The fire is located about 15 air miles upriver from the Richardson Highway. It is one-half mile south of the river and 3 miles north of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
Not as much rain fell Sunday as did on Friday but scattered showers throughout the day kept fire behavior subdued and allowed the five crews working to secure the fire perimeter to go on the offensive. The fire is now 10 percent contained, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
There are 121 personnel working on the fire that was started by a lightning strike on Thursday. An incident command post has been set up at the Salchaket Roadhouse at Mile 322.2 of the Richardson Highway.
The recent rain has caused the Salcha River to rise 6-8 inches and old debris along the river corridor is being washed into the channel. River users are advised to use caution due to the debris and increased boat traffic transporting firefighters and equipment.
A temporary flight restriction has been placed over the fire and pilots should avoid flying in the area. To check on specifics of the TFR, pilots should go to tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.