BLM AFS working on two new fires in Yukon Flats

The Applevun Fire (#305) is burning through grass and black spruce on Native corporation land in a modified management option area about 10 miles southeast of Chalkyitsik. Photo by Branden Petersen, BLM AFS

The Applevun Fire (#305) is burning through grass and black spruce on Native corporation land in a modified management option area about 10 miles southeast of Chalkyitsik. Photo by Branden Petersen, BLM AFS

The BLM Alaska Fire Service is working on two wind-driven fires that broke out in the Yukon Flats on Monday. Four water-scooping Fire Boss aircraft and 16 smokejumpers were on the ground trying to suppress the Tiechovun Lake Fire (#304) that threatened four Native land allotments and a cabin about 44 miles east of Fort Yukon. Two BLM AFS crews – the Type 1 Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshots and the Type 2 North Star Crew – will soon join the effort to catch the fire and protect the allotments and cabin from the fire burning in a combination of limited and modified fire management option areas within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. They’re working against an unfavorable weather forecast of hot, dry and windy conditions in the next couple of days.

The fire was noticed by satellite imagery Monday morning. By the time a detection flight was above the Tiechovun Lake Fire, it was estimated more than 50 acres with the potential of growing quickly. Smokejumpers were launched about the same time as the detection flight with four Fire Bosses and an air attack plane deployed to coordinate the air space above the fire soon on their way. The fire had grown to an estimated 100 acres by the afternoon and was burning in grass and brush.

While enroute to the Tiechovun Fire, BLM AFS Upper Yukon Zone personnel aboard the detection flight also spotted smoke near Chalkyitsik. A load of eight smokejumpers and two helicopters with water-scooping buckets were deployed to work on this new fire, named after the nearby Applevun Lake. The Applevun Fire (#305) is burning through grass and black spruce on Native corporation land in a modified management option area about 10 miles southeast of Chalkyitsik. It was estimated at 40 acres by 7 p.m. The area was experiencing winds out of the west and southwest winds that were gusting up to 23 mph Monday afternoon, pushing the fire toward a Native allotment located about three miles away. The weather forecast includes increasingly warm, dry and windy conditions in the upcoming days. The BLM AFS Chena Interagency Hotshot Crew will join smokejumpers on the fire Tuesday.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5511 or eipsen@blm.gov.

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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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