Firefighters search for hot spots, begin mopping up on North Robertson Fire near Tok

Firefighters continue to build and improve containment lines around the 832-acre North Robertson Fire burning along the Alaska Highway about 30 miles northwest of Tok.

More than 200 firefighters are working on the fire, which started on June 1 about 2 miles west of the Alaska Highway near Milepost 1350. As of Monday morning, the fire was 30 percent contained, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. The fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.

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The Venetie Type 2 crew receives a safety briefing from a helicopter crew member Sunday afternoon, June 4, 2017, as they prepare to fly to the North Robertson Fire. Sam Harrel/Alaska DNR/Division of Forestry

Scattered rain showers in the area over the last few days have reduced fire behavior and helped crews get a better handle on containing the fire. Crews are now in the process of mopping up containment line around the fire and searching for any hot spots that could threaten to cross the line if the wind picks up. The southwest portion of the fire has the most heat remaining, according to fire managers.

Crews should complete saw and hose lines around the entire fire today. Mop up operations are ongoing with a goal of mopping up 300 feet in from the outside perimeter of the fire.

Smoke may still be visible from the highway as interior pockets of unburned vegetation burn off. Winds from passing afternoon thunderstorms have increased burning in the interior of the fire but nothing has been reported as challenging the integrity of the containment lines.

Helicopters will continue to support firefighters on the ground with water drops on any hot spots found and be available to address hot spots during passing wind events.

Both the Pioneer Peak and Chena hotshot crews have been released from the fire to respond to higher priority fires that are burning in Southwest Alaska. Three Type 2 crews from Mountain Village, Selawik and Venetie arrived on the fire Sunday to replace the crews that were released.

A temporary flight restriction remains in place over the fire and pilots should check with the Federal Aviation Administration before flying in the area. More information on the TFR is available at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.

The Alaska Highway remains open but motorists in the area should use caution and be on the lookout for firefighting equipment and firefighters on the road.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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