BLM AFS smokejumpers working on two Interior fires

BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers are working on a pair of fires that are burning in Interior Alaska including a fire that originated in Canada. Smokejumpers are providing point protection for a Native allotment from the Campbell River Fire (#268) that entered into the U.S. yesterday. The fire started in Canada, but fire management officials were anticipating easterly winds would push the fire into Alaska Monday where it would hit a stand of continuous black spruce. The section burning in Alaska was estimated to be about 250 acres on Tuesday and running through mostly black spruce just south of the Porcupine River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). It is in a limited suppression area, however, because the winds are predicted to blow smoke west toward the Native allotment that sits at the confluence of the Salmon Trout and Porcupine rivers and preventing any aircraft from getting into the area, fire officials pulled the trigger to send smokejumpers out Tuesday afternoon while visibility was still good. The fire’s edge is still about 17 miles east of where the eight smokejumpers will be setting up to protect the allotment.

Meanwhile, another load of eight smokejumpers were sent to protect a historical cabin from a new fire burning within the Steese National Conservation Area north of the Steese Highway. Loper Creek Fire (#272) was initially reported at just before 3 p.m. as 15 acres creeping in black spruce within a limited suppression area. However, it was burning within three miles of a historical cabin. The eight smokejumpers were prepositioned in Fort Yukon in case they were needed for initial attack on a fire in the Upper Yukon Fire Management Zone that has some of the driest conditions in the state.

Upper Yukon fire management officials are also monitoring the Ammerman Creek and Koness fires located in ANWR. The Koness Fire (#258) was discovered on June 22 and when last checked Tuesday, no smoke was spotted nor had it noticbly grown. It was estimated at 80 acres and burning in a limited protection area. The Ammerman Creek Fire (#260) was discovered Sunday burning about eight miles from the Canadian border and about 83 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. It’s estimated at 2,780 acres and burning in an area that had burned in 2004 and 1987. The Gilead Fire (#251) is burning about 67 miles south of the Arctic Ocean and on State of Alaska land 15 miles of east of the Dalton Highway. This fire was discovered on June 20 and was estimated at 263 acres when flown on Tuesday.

All of these fires are believed to have been lightning caused.

Contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or eipsen@blm.gov for more information.

About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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