Cooler weather expected to help firefighters on Yukon Flats fires

Mother Nature is expected to give firefighters a reprieve from hot, dry conditions in the upcoming days as they continue to work on two lightning-caused fires burning in the Yukon Flats since July 2. An estimated 70 percent of the Applevun Fire (#305) is contained while the Tiechovun Lake Fire (#304) is about 20 percent contained.

While the Yukon Flats will continue to be the most worrisome spot of the state for fire conditions, the humidity levels are expected to increase in the next few days as moisture from the remnants of Typhoon Prapiroon (named after Thai Rain God) moves into Alaska from the Bering Sea. However, while the western part of the state will get wetting rain, there are still doubts this precipitation will reach far enough east to hit the Yukon Flats.

The 2,709-acre Tiechovunk Lake Fire is burning about 16 miles south of Chalkyitsik.

The 2,709-acre Tiechovunk Lake Fire is burning about 16 miles south of Chalkyitsik.

There was no significant growth on the 2,709-acre Tiechovun Lake Fire yesterday as fire behavior was moderate due to higher humidity and cloud cover. Crews progressed eastward on the north and south flanks and continued securing the west flank of the fire. Meanwhile, firefighters continued to secure the edge near the Little Black River. Today, firefighters will continue securing the line and mopping up. There are 98 firefighting personnel working on the fire that is burning in an area that is a combination of limited and modified fire management option areas within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge 16 miles south of Chalkyitsik.

The Applevun Fire (#305) is burning about 10 miles west of Chalyitsik.

The Applevun Fire (#305) is burning about 10 miles west of Chalyitsik.

Unlike the Tiechovun Lake fire, hot and windy conditions triggered flare ups within the interior of the Applevun Fire’s perimeters yesterday. Firefighters will continue securing the edge and mopping up, which is going to be extensive due to the fire burning in peat that can smolder for days. There are 28 firefighters – the Type 1 Chena Interagency Hotshots and eight smokejumpers – working the fire. The fire has estimated to have burned 97 acres, a reduction in acreage due to more accurate mapping. The lightning-caused fire is burning on Native corporation land in a modified management option area about 10 miles west of Chalkitsik.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 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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