Afternoon Winds and Dry Conditions Increase Fire Behavior

Copper Center, AK: Yesterday, the weather continued to be warm and dry within fire areas and afternoon winds increased fire activity. The Steamboat Creek Fire grew to approximately 19,179 acres. The fire was consuming fuel in the interior of the fire as winds shifted. The front of the fire is now moving in a south- southwest direction as of yesterday afternoon.

Fire personnel were on standby in case any fire threatened to cross a predetermined “trigger point,” or a management line where planners hope to keep the fire from crossing. Fire managers plan to keep the fire on the south side of the Chitina River, and yesterday two helicopters and two Fire Boss water-scooping planes were available in case they were needed to drop water. When fire personnel plan to manage the fire, they utilize “fire management options” to help determine strategic actions and established “trigger points” between the fire and high use areas like the McCarthy-Kennecott community and the Ultima-Thule Lodge.

The fire is currently burning in a “Limited Management Option” where the objective is to manage the fire for benefits to the natural resources, all while keeping a sharp eye on any trigger points or nearby valued resources or property. The Steamboat Creek Fire is burning within the boundary of National Park and Wilderness lands. In Alaska, 92% of lands in National Parks fall within a “Limited Management Option” where fires are actively monitored by fire managers for the benefit and long-term ecological health of the land. Firefighter and public safety is of the highest priority for all management options.

The predicted forecast of rain has arrived to the Copper River Basin early this morning and is predicted to last for the next couple of days. Today a small Type 3 organization will monitor and respond to any fire changes. Firefighters will be identifying 5 nearby historical cabins for structure protection.

Also, more accurate mapping will occur to get a better sense of how large the fire has become and to help with planning purposes. Aviation resources will be available to monitor the fire. Even with rain, fire managers continue to ask residents and park visitors to be mindful of any activities that have the potential to cause a wildfire. More information can be found on Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4867/

Other fires burning in or near Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve are described below.

Yokneda Lake Fire (2,500 acres) – Due to the incoming weather front, winds increased and fire activity picked up along the northeastern portion of the fire. Smoke was very visible along the Tok Cutoff Road throughout the day but fire managers are continuing to monitor the fire with daily reconnaissance flights.

Cutoff Fire (57 acres) – Crews have continued to make excellent progress and looking to have fire resources to be demobilized from the incident by 6 PM this evening.

Copper River Fire (0.2 acres) – The fire has been called contained and cont

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Fire Danger Sign in McCarthy NPS Credit: jmyslivy

rolled with fire resources continuing to monitor for any fire activity. No further report unless significant fire activity occurs.

Klawasi Fire (0.2 acres) – Continues to be monitored with no smoke being observed. No further report unless significant fire activity occurs.
Danoho Fire (0.1 acres) – A lightning-caused fire between the Kennecott and Root Glaciers was found by hikers on July 20th; fire resources flew the fire and placed it in monitor status. The fire is smoldering with very little activity.

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