East Fork Fire to Begin Demobilizing

Current cool and damp weather conditions continue to moderate fire behavior on the East Fork Fire burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Due to the moderating fire activity, fire managers are beginning the demobilization process and expect to start releasing crews over the weekend.

Picture of a mosaic burn still smoking within the fire area. Photo Credit: Robert Jeager

The lightning-caused fire remains approximately 1,016 acres with 145 personnel assigned. Since no change to the perimeter has occurred, no new map will be produced today. The fire continues to burn 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, an infrared flight of the fire showed scattered heat on the southern and eastern 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 to keep the fire east of the East Fork of the Moose River.

A warming and drying trend is predicted for the weekend. However, if the fire activity remains moderate and the objectives are being met, then there will be no need at this time for the strategic burnout operation. As discussed earlier in the week, the burnout remains an option to help manage the fire on the southern and western flanks.

Picture of the fire break being built from the southwest corner to the easement. Photo Credit: Robert Yeager

Firefighters continue to improve the new fuel break that runs from the fire’s southwest corner, about 2 ½ miles south to the ENSTAR natural gas pipeline, and lay water hose along the fire break and the pipeline easement. This work will assist with the burnout operation if conditions change, causing the fire to become active again and threaten the Sterling Highway and community of Sterling.  The public is asked to please steer clear of crews working in the area.

The temporary flight restriction (TFR) in place over the fire to provide for the safety of fire-related aircraft operations has been modified. Pilots should check with the Federal Aviation Administration before flying in the area. The most up to date TFR is available at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.

During these wet weather days, residents are encouraged to take steps on their own properties to reduce wildfire risk using tips found on the FireWise website: http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/firewise-toolkit.aspx

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 akfireinfo.com, KPBOEM.blogspot.com and inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5250/.

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