Firefighters continue to wrap things up on fires as conditions moderate

Smokejumpers check each other's equipment before boarding an airplane bound for the William Slough Fire (#220) Saturday afternoon. Four smokejumpers parachuted in to set up protection measures on a cabin about a mile away from the fire while other four returned to the Alaska Smokejumper base at BLM AFS facilities on Fort Wainwright. Photo by Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS

Smokejumpers check each other’s equipment before boarding an airplane bound for the William Slough Fire (#220) Saturday afternoon. Four smokejumpers parachuted in for point protection while the other four returned to the Alaska Smokejumper base at BLM AFS facilities on Fort Wainwright. Photo by Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS

Fire activity has moderated throughout much of Alaska thanks to a combination of decreased lightning activity and scattered showers in many places. While some places received wetting rain, others, such as Central Interior Alaska, remain dry and will likely stay that way for the next few days. BLM Alaska Fire Service staff are keeping an eye out in case new ignitions from smoldering lightning strikes jump to life after a few days of drying. Thankfully, weather stations recorded only 800 lightning strikes on Saturday. This is a big reason why there were only four new fires Saturday. Of those, the William Slough Fire (#220) was the lone fire to generate a response.

Only 12 of the 96 active fires in Alaska were staffed Sunday morning with many firefighters continuing to come home after putting in hard work on the fireline. Those remaining on fires may get a shock when a cold front moves in down from the Arctic, bringing close to freezing temperatures Sunday night. Because of this, the BLM AFS is delivering cold weather sleeping bags to some firefighters still on the fireline.

Here’s the rundown on staffed fires around Alaska burning in both BLM AFS and Alaska Division of Forestry protection areas:

William Slough (#220) – This fire was detected at about 5 p.m. Sunday during a BLM AFS reconnaissance flight and plotted in a full protection area 25 miles west of Manley Hot Springs. Because it’s the fire is burning in an island of unburned land surrounded on three sides by the 2015 Hay Slough burn and the Tanana River on the southwest side, four smokejumpers parachuted in to provide site protection. They will demobilize on Sunday

Minchumina (#213) – The BLM AFS Chena Interagency Hotshots took over on the fire today and are in mop-up mode. Meanwhile, 14 smokejumpers will demobilize after spending two days on the fire burning to the southwest of the Interior lake. The fire received wetting rains on Saturday to help firefighters hold it to 35 acres. The fire is burning on State of Alaska land.

Becky Lake (#212) – Eight Minto emergency firefighters from the Type 2 EFF Mooseheart Mountain Crew are helping two smokejumpers with mopping up and gridding the 3.2-acre fire located on the northeast side of Wein Lake. The fire is 10 percent contained.
Fishing Village (#207) – Smokejumpers completed mopping up the fire Saturday and plan to demobilize from the fire near Golovin today. The fire was contained at 300 acres.

Chandalar River (#175) – The BLM AFS Midnight Sun Hotshots worked throughout Saturday and called the fire 100 percent contained Saturday evening. The 20-person crew will grid the entire 62-acre fire today and anticipate demobilizing out of Fort Yukon on Monday.

Reindeer Lake (#191) – This fire, burning 20 miles east of Holy Cross, is 60 percent contained. Firefighters completed mapping of the perimeter and reported it at 320 acres. The 45 people staffing the fire, including the Alaska Division of Forestry Type 1 Pioneer Peak Hotshots, anticipate having the fire totally contained and demobilize Monday.
Molybdenum Mountain (#139) – The Type 2 Initial Attack Yukon Crew continues to grid the fire. It is 60 percent contained at 650 acres. This lightning-caused fire started on June 5 and is staffed with 24 personnel.

Koko Creek (#172) – The eight smokejumpers working the 400-acre fire located 23 miles north of Russian Mission continued mop up and patrolling. They plan to have things wrapped up and demobilize today. This fire was burning on BLM land in a full management option area since June 6.

Crazy Mountain (#130) – The Type 2 UAF Nanook Fire Crew were chased off the fireline by wetting rains for three hours Saturday. They have the fire 100 percent contained, but will continue to grid, looking for hot spots within the fire’s perimeter the next two days. This 9.3-acre fire was burning north of Mile 142 Steese Highway. They anticipate demobilizing on Tuesday.

Victoria Creek (#186) – The eight smokejumpers working on the 306-acre fire completed gridding and called the fire contained at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. They plan to demobilize today. The fire was burning about 4 miles south of Napamiute on the opposite side of the Kuskokwim River since Wednesday.

Prairie Creek (#126) – The fire is contained and controlled. A drone with an infrared camera flew the fire to detect hot spots. The 34 personnel working on this fire, including the DOF Type 2IA Gannett Glacier Crew, will mobilize today. This fire is located 43 miles northeast of Talkeetna.

Deniktaw Ridge (#117) – The 32 people working the fire, including the BLM AFS Type 2 North Star Fire Crew, will continue to protect the cabins and Native allotments that located 3.5 miles or more away from the 7,000-acre fire burning between Huslia and Hughes.

Contact the interagency Fire Information office at (907)356-5511 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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