Firefighters working on fire near Chistochina

Efforts are underway on the ground and in the air to contain a fire burning off of mile 36.5 Tok Cutoff near Chistochina. The Chistochina River Fire (#381) was reported by someone in the area at about 3 p.m. It was reported to be one acre and burning about an eighth of a mile from the road. There are at least three structures in the immediate area of the fire. Four water-scooping Fire Boss airplanes and an Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) Tok Area helicopter are dropping water on the fire. In addition, 16 BLM Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) smokejumpers, three DOF engines, two Gakona Volunteer Fire Department tenders and accompanying firefighters are working on the ground to bring the fire under control. The 20-person Type 2 University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanook Wildland Fire Crew and the Type II Minto fire crew will join the battle tomorrow. The fire was initially moving at a relatively high rate of spread through black spruce, but started to calm down at about 6 p.m. as temperatures cooled, the wind died down and humidity levels increased.

The fire is visible from the highway. An Alaska State Trooper is in the area to help with traffic. There may be intermittent traffic delays. If possible, motorists should avoid the area or at least be cautious due to firefighters and equipment moving around the area.

The area has experienced intermittent and isolated showers recently and throughout the summer. However, the weather warmed up today and is expected to continue though the weekend. With recent lightning in the area, at this time it is unknown if the fire was human or lightning caused.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)388-2159 or eipsen@blm.gov.

Photo of the Chistochina River Fire taken on Aug. 4, 2017.

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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