Wildland firefighters on Friday completed work on a 28-acre fire that escaped from the dump in the village of Kongnignanohk in southwest Alaska.
Division of Forestry personnel in McGrath were alerted to the fire by modis imagery on Wednesday and contacted the Knognignanohk Traditional Council to check on it. Forestry personnel were told that the fire was on the opposite side of the Knognignanohk River from the village. Residents suppressed the fire on Tuesday but it had rekindled and spread outside the dump on Wednesday. Locals were once again trying to suppress it and asked for assistance.
Four smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service were deployed to the fire and reported an 8-acre fire. With assistance from a helicopter dropping water on the fire, the smokejumpers were able to knock down the head of the fire and secure one flank. Due to hazardous smoke being emitted from the dump portion of the fire, firefighters were unable to secure the entire perimeter.
A helicopter was used on Thursday to knock down the dump portion of the fire and reduce the amount of smoke that was blowing toward the village. Firefighters were able to get hose around the entire perimeter of the fire to water it down. While the dump portion of the fire will continue to smoke, the wildland portion was declared contained and controlled as of Friday morning.
As of Friday morning, there were 28 active fires that had burned more than 8,000 acres in the Division of Forestry’s Southwest Area that covers 88 million acres from Dillingham to McGrath. Sixteen fires are burning in full/modified protection areas and 12 are burning in limited protection areas.
Only one of those fires, the Molybdenum Mountain Fire located about 130 miles southwest of McGrath and 80 miles northeast of Bethel, is staffed with firefighting personnel while the remaining fires are being monitored by air.
On Friday, more than 60 Alaska Division of Forestry firefighters continued mopping up the 650-acre Molybdenum Mountain Fire. The fire was started by lightning on June 5.in southwest Alaska.
On Thursday, DOF’s Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew gridded the northern edge of the fire and used a drone equipped with an infrared camera to identify areas of heat. The Yukon Type 2 Initial Attack Crew gridded to the south and found one hotspot about 300 feet in from the perimeter. The Type 2 Upper Kalskag hand crew built a medivac helispot and also continued gridding for hotspots.