Efforts are underway to suppress a wildfire burning about two miles southwest of Anvik. Eight BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers and two water scooping airplanes were busy working on the fire Sunday night after it was reported at about 7:30 p.m. Neither the village nor other structures are immediately threatened. The Deadmans Slough Fire (#162) is suspected to be lightning caused and is burning in a full-suppression area not far from the village that sits at the confluence of the Anvik and Yukon rivers. The fire is burning in a mixture of spruce and hardwoods. It burned into early morning hours, occasionally torching and spotting when it hit a stand of spruce trees. It was burning through patches of fuel and leaving other pockets unburned. Fire activity was greatly subdued this morning, but that is likely to change as temperatures climb later in the day. It was estimated at 90 acres by Monday morning. The winds were blowing the fire and smoke away from the village yesterday and were expected to do the same again today.
The eight smokejumpers and at least one of the water-scooping Fire Boss airplanes will be back at it today with the BLM AFS’s 20-person Chena Interagency Hotshot Crew joining the fight after it is released today from the North Robertson Fire burning near Tok. A helicopter will also work the Deadmans Slough Fire by helping with logistical coordination and dropping buckets of water to help firefighters on the ground. Another aircraft will be tasked with providing aviation coordination and situational awareness to firefighters.
The North Robertson Fire had been the priority until cooler temperatures and rain helped firefighters gain significant ground over the weekend. The focus is now shifted to Southwestern Alaska due to dry, hot and windy conditions that has triggered several Red Flag warnings in areas ranging from Kobuk Valley in the Northwest Arctic to the Kuskokwim Valley surrounding Bethel. The Deadmans Slough Fire was one of 13 new fire starts across Alaska following a spate of lightning strikes across the central part of the state.
There are now 25 active fires with only four staffed. The rest are burning in limited protection areas. Of the 149 fires so far this year, 132 were human caused. That will likely change as Alaska is just getting into lightning season. As of this morning, wildfires have burned 5,152 acres.For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.