Firefighters continue mop-up and burn operations ahead of the Oregon Lakes Fire

A burnout slopped over the containment line on Monday, but has also created a larger black buffer to prevent the Oregon Lakes Fire from progressing north as the summer progresses. Photo by Karen Scholl, BLM AFS
A burnout slopped over the containment line on Monday, but has also created a larger black buffer to prevent the Oregon Lakes Fire from progressing north as the summer progresses. The red line is from a retardant drop to slow the slop’s progression. Photo by Karen Scholl, BLM AFS

Firefighters are mopping up Sunday’s slopover and, when conditions allow, resume the initial burn operation, extending it farther west along the fuel break to create a larger buffer ahead of the Oregon Lakes Fire. Firefighters worked Monday mopping up Sunday’s burn operation and securing its edges. 

Graphic with May 13, 2019 fire statistics.

The main fire became active Monday in the northwest corner that had previously shown no activity. Because of this, the Alaska Incident Management Team will use the three crews assigned to extend the burnout further to the west. Firefighters are setting up a water pump and hose system to assist in their firing operation. Suppression aircraft will be on standby when the burn is ignited.

Burnouts are a common tool used to fight fire. Removing the dead grass in front of the fire significantly reduces chances the fire will spread, keeping the fire to the smallest footprint possible. It also reduces the danger to firefighters and the costs involved with a much larger fire. The fire is not immediately threatening any structures, private property, state timber or military infrastructure.

While the grass has been very receptive to burning, the spruce and birch trees have mostly been resistant to burn. This will change as the summer progresses. The burn operation will provide an obstacle to prevent the fire’s movement north, but will not put this early-season fire out. 

Photo of the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack fire crew camped in the field May 12, 2019.
The White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack fire crew camped in the field overnight on May 12, 2019 in order to get an early start on the slop over. Photo by Evan Sterling, Fire Medic.

Because the Delta area is prone to wildfires, the public is encouraged to take steps to minimize the impact of a fire to their property. More information is available through the Delta Area Forestry Prevention office at (907)895-4225 or Firewise online information.

Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR)is in place over the fire areato prevent outside aircraft, including military aircraft, from interfering with the suppression efforts.

Forecasted weather: Warmer and drier weather is forecast to continue until Wednesday when a thermal trough is predicted to move over the fire area. Today, temperatures could push into the upper 60s and possibly low 70s with relative humidity levels in the mid- to upper-teens. Southerly winds will range from 5-13 mph with gusts up to 22 mph. Weather is predicted to cool down Wednesday afternoon. A slight chance of isolated thundercells near the fire area is expected Wednesday and Thursday, but there is no chance of wetting rains. 

For more information, contact Public Information Officer Beth Ipsen at eipsen@blm.gov or (907)388-2159.

Map of the Oreon Lakes Fire on May 14, 2019.
Map of the Oregon Lakes Fire on May 14, 2019.

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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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