Firefighters continue mopping up two of the more than dozen wildfires that were started by lightning more than a week ago in the Alaska Division of Forestry’s Southwest Area between Dillingham and McGrath.
Sixty personnel are still assigned to the 2,653-acre Bell Creek Fire burning near the village of Crooked Creek on the Kuskokwim River. Crews on Tuesday continued to grid the fire for hot spots 300 feet in from the outside perimeter with the goal of reaching 20 percent containment today. Sporadic heat is still being found along the fire’s edge. An infrared drone flight has been ordered for today to identify additional hot spots that haven’t been found by firefighters.
Meanwhile, 39 personnel continue work on the 16,824-acre Pitka Fork Fire burning 60 miles east of McGrath in the Farewell area. An afternoon reconnaissance flight on Tuesday afternoon revealed areas of smoke still showing on the fire’s edge even after heavy rainfall. Firefighters have not attempted to suppress the fire, which is burning in a limited protection area, but have instead focused their efforts on protecting cabins and other structures in the area should the fire reach them.
A saw line was completed Tuesday around the Windy Fork cabins at the north end of Sheep Creek. Structure protection in that area should be completed this weekend. Firefighters are also working on constructing saw line at the south end of Sheep Creek.
The remaining 10 active fires in the Southwest Area are being monitored by the Division of Forestry.