Despite increased winds and smoke, no significant growth reported on Oregon Lakes Fire Tuesday

Photo of Smoke the Oregon Lakes Fire burning south of Delta Junction drifted into neighboring communities Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy Delta Junction resident Sebastian Saarloos.

Smoke the Oregon Lakes Fire burning south of Delta Junction drifted into neighboring communities Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy Delta Junction resident Sebastian Saarloos.

After three days of low activity, winds increased and pushed smoke into neighboring communities as the Oregon Lakes Fire burned untouched pockets of fuel in the interior and on its southern end this afternoon. Members of the Alaska Type 2 IMT, who took over management of the fire this morning, reported no fire growth to the north, west and east after a late afternoon flight. The fire is estimated at 6,745 acres, a slight increase from previous days.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Division of Forestry White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Fire Crew arrived in Delta Junction in preparation for the uptick in fire activity and the possibility of taking action if the fire burned outside a military impact area. This is familiar territory for the White Mountain Crew. They had worked on the Mississippi Fire in 2013 and the 100 Mile Creek Fire in 2014. Part of the crew’s preparation was a briefing by U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Range Control personnel on the risk of unexploded ordinances in the area. Range Control gives this briefing to all firefighting personnel regardless if it’s a scheduled prescribed burn operation or a wildfire in military training areas.

This remote fire was reported at about 1 p.m. on April 30 and so far has been burning in an area that is unsafe for firefighters and low-flying fire suppression aircraft due to the likelihood of unexploded ordinance on the ground. It is burning mostly in tall, dry grass and downed trees from the 2013 Mississippi Fire on the west side of the braided Delta River. It is in a limited protection area and is not immediately threatening any structures, military targets or valuable resources about 11 miles south of Delta Junction. However, because it is burning in the Delta River drainage with known challenging weather patterns that could cause the fire to persist throughout the summer, the team was activated to come up with short- and long-term plans to launch suppression tactics once the fire moves out of the military impact areas.

Photo of Operational Section Chief Casey Boespflug looks over some notes during a meeting among the Alaska Interagency Management Type 2 Green Team meeting on May 5, 2019. Photo by Kale Casey, Alaska IMT

Operations Section Chief Casey Boespflug looks over some notes during a meeting among the Alaska Interagency Management Type 2 Green Team  on May 5, 2019. Photo by Kale Casey, Alaska IMT

 

The IMT is working with the BLM Alaska Fire Service Military Fire Management Zone, the U.S. Army Alaska Garrison, the BLM Eastern Interior Field Office and the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) to determine the best course of action, especially with the forecasted warm and windy weather. The fire could grow to the north and threaten State of Alaska timber values along the Delta River and Delta Creek. It would need to first cross a shear blade line that was constructed as a fuel break in recent years.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

For more information, go to Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6308/, or follow BLM Alaska Fire Service on Facebook (@BLMAFS) and Twitter (@BLM_AFS).

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5-7-19 Fire  077 Map.jpgClick on link 5-7-19 Fire 077 map 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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