Work ramping down on Yukon Flats fires

Chalyitsik will see an increase in air traffic this weekend as 6-1/2 miles of hose will come off of two Yukon Flats fires starting tomorrow in preparation of demobilizing the Applevun Fire on Sunday and the Tiechovun Lake Fire late next week.

Map of Tiechovunk Lake Fire (#304) and Applevun Fire (#305) burning near Chalkyitsik.

Map of Tiechovunk Lake Fire (#304) and Applevun Fire (#305) burning near Chalkyitsik.

The Applevun Fire (#305) was called 100 percent contained yesterday. Eight smokejumpers and the Type 1 Chena Interagency Hotshots will spend the remainder of the time gridding the 100-acre fire to ensure it is completely out before leaving the fire on Sunday. The lightning-caused fire has been burning on Native corporation land in a modified management option area about 10 miles west of Chalkyitsik since July 2.

As things stand now, that could leave the 2,709-acre Tiechovun Lake Fire (#304) as the only staffed fire in Alaska next week. Of the 65 active fires in Alaska, the two Yukon Flats fires are the only staffed. Crews will continue securing the remaining line and mopping up deeper into the interior of the Tiechovun Lake Fire. The fire is estimated to be 40 percent contained with only minimal fire activity expected in the upcoming days. There are 98 firefighting personnel including four hand crews working on the fire. Firefighters will use an infrared device tomorrow to reveal hot spots otherwise undetectable to the human eye in order to get 100 percent contained before demobilizing. The fire is burning in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge about 16 miles south of Chalyitsik.

Firefighters on the Tiechovunk Lake Fire were greeted by sunny skies, but cooler weather this morning with highs expected to climb into the 70s on both fires today. Humidity levels shouldn’t drop lower than 31 percent. A low pressure is predicted to develop south of the fires late this evening. It will move over the fires Saturday, and then north of the fires Saturday night. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are possible Saturday afternoon as the low moves overhead.

This will be the last daily update for the two fires unless there is a significant increase in fire activity.

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

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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