Tanana Zone reports three new fires discovered Sunday

There were three new fires discovered Sunday in the BLM Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) Tanana fire management zone, an area that roughly covers land from the Colville River on the North Slope, south through Ruby to Denali National Park and Preserve, and east to the Dalton Highway. All three were lightning-caused fires from thunderstorms this past week. The Jack White Fire (#344) was reported by a resident of Bettles burning approximately 6-miles northeast of Bettles on the western edge of the Jack White Range. Smokejumper aircraft J-17 responded and confirmed a 5-acre fire burning in a Full suppression area. The fire was burning in tundra and mixed spruce fuel type and behavior was described as running, backing, and smoldering with minor torching. J-17 deployed eight BLM Smokejumpers onto the fire. Two Fireboss water-scooping aircraft were also deployed to assist the smokejumpers with water drops. Firefighters contained the fire and reported it to be 12-acres. They will work today extinguishing hot spots and mopping up the perimeter. Four additional smokejumpers were demobilized from the John River Fire (#337), west of Bettles, and reassigned to the Jack White Fire.

The other two new fires in the Tanana Zone were detected by smokejumper aircraft on separate missions. They are located in limited suppression areas and will be left to proceed in their natural ecological role. The Chalatna Creek Fire (#345) was reported to be 30-acres, burning in tundra, black spruce, and a hardwood mix. It is located about 12-miles west of Milepost 109 on the Dalton Highway. Motorists may see this fire from the highway and could experience smoky conditions. Please use caution and drive with your headlights on if conditions are smoky. The Big Mud River Fire (#343) was reported to be 5 acres, smoldering and creeping in tundra. It is located approximately 54-miles southwest of Tanana. These fires are not threatening any known sites of value and will be monitored by zone surveillance aircraft.

Tanana Zone fire managers also deployed eight smokejumpers to the Nowitna Fire (#336) on Sunday for structure protection. The fire was discovered Friday, located 48-miles southeast of Ruby. Aerial reconnaissance reported the fire to be 2,991 acres, with a 60 percent active perimeter, creeping with some isolated torching. Firefighters are clearing brush from around the home site. They will setup pumps, hose lays and sprinkler systems to protect the area from the fire that is approximately 2.5 miles away.

For more information contact Public Information Officer Sam Harrel at (907) 322-7204 or pio.samharrel@gmail.com.

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