BLM Alaska Fire Service personnel are working on four fires spread from one end of the state of the other. After spending roughly five hours traveling about 575 miles Monday evening to reach the Tusikpak Lake Fire (#116) burning near Point Hope, eight BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers have been working to bring the 2,000-acre tundra grass fire under control. There are seven cabins and numerous Native allotments within the area. The closest allotment was 2.2 miles south of the fire on the north side of a river.
Of the 19 new fires yesterday, 11 started within the BLM AFS Galena Fire Management Zone which covers 93.5 million acres starting at Pilot Station running north to the Arctic Slope – an area about the size of Montana. Two of the fires, including the Tusikpak Lake Fire, were staffed on Monday. A third, the Fairhaven Creek Fire (#136) burning about 20 miles south of Buckland, will be staffed Tuesday because it’s burning in a modified fire management option area on State of Alaska owned land. The fire was reported by someone in Buckland at 9 p.m. It was estimated to be 20-acress by Monday night and running and backing in tundra.
On Monday, 16 smokejumpers and two of the four BLM AFS contracted Fire Boss water scoopers aggressively worked on the Deniktaw Ridge Fire (#117) burning about 20 miles southwest of Hughes. This was first reported by a Galena Zone detection flight and was mostly smoldering and creeping with a few single-tree torching. The fire was estimated at 160 acres by Monday night. Eight of the smokejumpers will be pulled from this fire to use elsewhere. Instead, the North Star Fire Crew, BLM AFS’s Type 2 training crew, will work on the fire with the remaining eight smokejumpers and a helicopter.
Meanwhile, fires continue to pop up across the other Fire Management Zones within the BLM AFS’s protection area that covers the northern half of Alaska. With the warm, dry weather expected to continue in the northern half of the state of the next few days, BLM AFS fire officials are keeping an eye out for more fire ignitions following three days of 2,000-plus lightning strikes in Alaska.
Of the three burning in the Upper Yukon Zone Monday, the Crazy Mountain Fire (#130) was burning near Mile 142 Steese Highway on the eastern side of Alaska. It was reported by someone living in the area who spotted the flames burning from a ridgetop about two miles from his house. It’s also burning a quarter of a mile from a Native allotment. BLM AFS fire personnel flew to the area and spotted the fire smoldering, creeping with isolated torching in a mixture of hardwoods with downed, dead trees. It was estimated to have burned 1.5 acres in a modified management option area on ANSCA corporation-owned land. Eight smokejumpers were sent to the fire Tuesday morning. People driving this stretch of the Steese Highway will likely see smoke in this area.
As of Tuesday morning, Alaska has had 118 fires for 3,150 acres burned. Of those, 93 are determined to be human caused. Two are still unknown with the rest either naturally or lightning caused. There are 33 fires that are considered active in Alaska.
For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907)356-5510 or (907)388-2159.