Firefighters respond to new fire near Fort Yukon

Five firefighters are working on the Coiled Fire (#337) burning about 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon. Photo by Tim Hatfield, BLM AFS

Five firefighters are working on the Coiled Fire (#337) burning about 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon. Photo by Tim Hatfield, BLM AFS

A BLM Alaska Fire Service five-person helitack crew was dispatched from Fort Yukon Wednesday afternoon to a small brush fire about 17 miles away. The Coiled Fire (#337) is burning northeast of Fort Yukon and west of where the Porcupine and Sheenjek rivers meet. It’s smoldering in a full management option area within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge about 4 miles from two Native land allotments. It was spotted by BLM AFS Upper Yukon Zone personnel aboard a detection aircraft at about 3 p.m. They were returning to Fort Yukon after flying around the Yukon Flats looking for new fires caused by lightning strikes in the past few days.

Once at the fire, firefighters reported it was estimated to be a half an acre and burning deep in a combination of brush and dry peat moss. They quickly got to work securing the edge of the fire, but estimated it would take several hours to contain due to it burning four to five inches below the surface. They anticipate having the edge secured Wednesday night, but would return Thursday to check on the fire.

Because the area is experiencing prolonged hot and dry conditions in the Yukon Flats, the five-person initial attack crew was formed for quicker response from Fort Yukon by helicopter. The deep ground layers are dry enough that fire officials were concerned that any ignitions in the Yukon Flats that fell within an area that generated a response could quickly get out of hand and threaten the public’s safety or nearby structures or values.
Converting the helicopter crew with initial attack capabilities allowed the five firefighters the capability to quickly get to a fire and start suppression tactics.

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

Map of the Coiled Fire (#337) burning about 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon.

Map of the Coiled Fire (#337) burning about 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon. Click on link 7-11-18 337 Coiled Fire for PDF version of map.

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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