Fire behavior was active again on Monday and the Taixtsalda Hill Fire (#357) southeast of Tok grew by another 3,000 acres. The fire is now estimated at 18,406 acres, an increase of approximately 3,000 acres.
The fire, which started July 23, is burning in a remote area approximately 14 miles southwest of the village of Northway and 38 miles southeast of Tok. It is approximately 20 miles west of the Alaska Highway.
A Type 3 incident management team based in Northway is overseeing the fire and there are approximately 150 personnel assigned to the incident. The fire is believed to be human caused and the specific cause is under investigation. It is burning on Tetlin Native Corporation lands.
Due to limited resources and the large size of the fire, efforts thus far have been focused on protecting Native allotments, cabins and infrastructure rather than direct suppression.
On Monday, firefighters conducted successful burnout operations to protect two Native allotments south and east of the fire. They will be mopping up those burns today with assistance from a newly arriving hand crew from the Kobuk Valley.
Today firefighters will be patrolling for any spots across the Nabesna River. The objective is to keep the fire from crossing to the east side of the Nabesna River.
Fire managers also identified pre-existing fire lines from the Long Lake Fire in 2015 that can be used as alternate/contingency lines should the fire advance toward Northway.
A structure assessment of all buildings in Northway will begin this week as part of long-range planning and for use in future years. Structure protection measures are underway on Jatahmund Lake, 9 miles southeast of the fire, in case the fire moves in that direction.
Pilots should be aware that a temporary flight restriction has been placed over the fire area to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft to work in. There are multiple firefighting aircraft regularly flying in the area. To check on the specific coordinates of the TFR, pilots can go tohttp://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_8_5595.html.
Future community meetings will be scheduled when needed or if the fire burns closer to the communities.
For more information, call the fire line at (907) 707-9866.