Showers calm Oregon Lakes Fire

Looking west from the east end of the containment line, a line of retardant runs diagionally from th Lester Line (not pictured) to slow the movement of the fire while firefighters strengthen fuel breaks such as the winter trail pictured to the left. Smoke is visible from another burn operation on the west end of the containment line on May 16, 2019.
Looking west from the east end of the containment line, a line of retardant runs diagionally from th Lester Line (not pictured) to slow the movement of the fire while firefighters strengthen fuel breaks such as the winter trail pictured to the right. The burned area to the right (north) of the winter trail is the area that slopped over the fuel break on Sunday. Distant visible smoke is from another burn operation on the west end of the containment line on May 16, 2019. Photo by Karen Scholl, Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team
Information box with fire statistics

A shot of moisture calmed fire activity on the Oregon Lakes Fire yesterday as firefighters continue to extend and strengthen firebreaks ahead of the fire. Firefighters working in the northwest corner of the fire west of Douglas Creek experienced rain and even hail that halted an evening burn operation. The fire area received only about .01-.02 of rain yesterday. The continued cooler weather will allow firefighters to concentrate on fortifying firebreaks in anticipation warmer, drier weather starting Sunday.

Fire managers are considering extending the burnout farther west and east in front of the fire. Removing the fuel ahead of the fire significantly reduces chances the fire will spread, keeping the fire to the smallest footprint possible and decreasing the threat to values at risk farther to the north. 

The Fairbanks #1 Type 2 Emergency Firefighter Crew will arrive today to assess military infrastructure north of the Oklahoma Range to see what measures are needed to protect range observation sites should the fire continue west. The observation sites are south of the pre-existing firebreaks. Because conditions are becoming drier around the state, crews assigned to the Oregon Lakes Fire are available for an initial attack response.

This picture, facing north, shows a pre-existing fuel break, known as the Lester Line, on the east end of the burnout ahead of the Oregon Lakes Fire on May 16, 2019. The red streak is air retardant dropped the evening of May 15, 2019 to slow the fire’s progression to allow firefighters to stregthen containment lines along the fuel break, known as the winter trail, to the north of the fire. A burnout to remove vegetation ahead of the fire, burns inbetween the fuel breaks and the retardant line. Photo by Karen Scholl, Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team

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

The burn operation will provide an obstacle to prevent the fire’s movement north, but will not put this large early-season fire out. Since 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.

Using pre-existing fuel breaks such as the winter trail, pictured here, firefighters are burning vegetation ahead of the Oregon Lakes Fire. The burn is going nicely south of the winter trail. Photo by Karen Scholl, Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team
Using pre-existing fuel breaks such as the winter trail (pictured here), firefighters are burning vegetation ahead of the Oregon Lakes Fire to the south. Photo by Karen Scholl, Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team

Forecasted weather: The thermal low pressure trough over the fire area will remain through Saturday. The trough will strengthen later today, leading to a slight chance of rain and increasing winds in the afternoon and evening. There will be a very slight chance of rain each afternoon. Maximum temperatures will be in the low 60s and relative humidity will be 25-35 percent. Conditions will be warmer and drier starting Sunday.

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

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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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