East Fork Fire Activity Moderates

Tuesday’s rain and the current weather conditions have dramatically moderated fire behavior on the East Fork Fire burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

A picture of the North Star crew laying hose along the 30-foot-wide ENSTAR pipeline easement. Photo Credit: Lakota Burwell

The lightning-caused fire remains approximately 1,016 acres and currently has 147 personnel assigned. The fire is in a limited protection area about 4.5 miles north of the Sterling Highway and 3.5 miles east of the nearest residential area.

Yesterday, the fire experienced cool temperatures and high relative humidity but no precipitation fell over the fire area. Similar weather is forecast for today and tomorrow with a warming and drying trend predicted for the weekend.

Fire officials plan to fly the fire with an infrared camera today to search for areas of heat. This will give fire personnel an idea of how much heat is still within the fire area and on the eastern and southern perimeters.

Fire management’s main objectives continue to be to minimize the impact on values at risk on the south end of the fire and the natural gas pipeline corridor to the southeast, as well as keep the fire east of the East Fork of the Moose River.

A tentatively planned burnout operation is an option to help manage the fire and ensure a secure eastern and southern perimeter. If the fire activity continues to moderate and the objectives are being met, then there will be no need for a burnout.

North Star Crew working on the East Fork Fire break on 6-21. Photo Credit: Lakota Burwell

Today, firefighters will continue to improve the fuel break that runs from the fire’s southwest corner, about 2 ½ miles south to the ENSTAR natural gas pipeline. Crews are also working to lay fire hose along the fire break and the pipeline easement. This work is being done to prepare the area for the burnout operation in case the fire becomes active again and threatens the Sterling Highway and community of Sterling.

The public is asked to please steer clear of crews working in the area and be aware of the potential for aircraft using Skilak Lake to scoop water.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire and pilots should check with the Federal Aviation Administration before flying in the area. A modification to the TFR is planned for today. The most up to date TFR is available at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.

For more information, contact Alaska Division of Forestry public information officer Celeste Prescott at 907-244-9376. Information about the fire is also being posted on KPBOEM.blogspot.com and inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5250/.

 

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