Firefighters make progress on Yukon Flats fires, demobilize from Zitziana River Fire

Despite extreme winds gusting up to 40 mph on Wednesday, firefighters are making progress towards containing two lightning-caused fires burning in the Yukon Flats. For the third day in a row, firefighters battled hot and windy conditions while trying to suppress the 2,709-acre Tiechovun Lake Fire (#304) and the 140-acre Applevun Fire (#305). Neither fire experienced any significant growth on Wednesday due to the hard work on the ground and from the air. Firefighters are making headway toward containment of both fires and will be busy today securing edges and even starting mop up in areas. Winds have already subsided today and temperatures are cooler, but dry conditions are forecasted to continue in the Yukon Flats.

Meanwhile, the remaining five firefighters staffing the 53,643-acre Mooseheart (#204) and the 35,978-acre Zitziana River (#113) fires burning south of Manley are demobilizing after up to a half an inch of rain fell in the area. Both fires are burning in a limited management option area, but got quite a bit of attention when the Zitziana River fire made a six mile run and threatened structures on the Kindamina Lake last month.

Map of Tiechovunk Lake Fire on July 5, 2018

Tiechovunk Lake Fire on July 5, 2018

Firefighters working on the Tiechovun Lake Fire burning about 16 miles south of Chalkyitsik were aided by four water-scooping Fire Boss, a Division of Forestry tanker loaded with 3,000 gallons of water instead of retardant, and helicopters dumping large buckets of water on the fire. There are a total of 74 people working on the fire including 16 smokejumpers, the Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshot Crew and two Type 2 crews – the BLM AFS Type 2 North Star Crew and the UAF Nanook Fire Crew. Fire activity was moderate on Wednesday with some spotting. Firefighters continue working on both and north and south flanks of the fire and mopping up two spot fires on the east side of the Little Black River. Firefighters are using boats and aircraft to reach four allotments and two cabins nearby in case they need to set up protection measures. It is burning in a 2007 burn scar in an area that is a combination of limited and modified fire management option areas within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Map of Applevun Fire on July 5, 2018

Applevun Fire on July 5, 2018

Firefighters working on the Applevun Fire reported moderate fire activity Wednesday with smoldering under the hardwoods and creeping along the edge. A load of eight smokejumpers, the Type 1 Chena Interagency Hotshots and helicopters with water-scooping buckets were busy these past few days as they continue securing the edge. The fire had burned a mile-long skinny swath of grass interspersed with a mixture of black spruce and hardwoods. The fire is burning on Native corporation land in a modified management option. There are 35 personnel working on the fire that have been instrumental in keeping the growth of the fire check the past few days.

The Kevinjik Fire (#302) and the Webber Creek Fire (#135) were very active on Wednesday as witnessed through satellite imagery. The Kevinjik Fire was last estimated at 100 acres on Monday, but satellite imagery shows quite a bit of heat to the east of the original perimeter for a possible run for the border. It’s burning in a remote area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge about 42 miles northeast of Chalkyitsik. The Webber Creek Fire was estimated at 6,658 acres and burning in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve about 30 miles east of the Arctic Circle Hot Springs. Most of its heat was from interior pockets of land that were burning yesterday. BLM AFS Upper Yukon Zone fire officials will keep an eye on both fires that are burning in a limited management option area and aren’t immediately threatening any structures or Native land allotments.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or eipsen@blm.gov.

Map showing the Applevunk Fire, Tiechovunk Lake Fire and Kevinjik Fire in relation to Chalkyitsik on July 5, 2018.

Map showing the Applevunk Fire, Tiechovunk Lake Fire and Kevinjik Fire in relation to Chalkyitsik on July 5, 2018.

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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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