Oregon Lakes Fire equipment delivered by helicopter, boat and parachute

Alaska Fire Service is using smokejumpers’ techniques to deliver equipment to Oregon Lakes Fire Crews
  • Start Date: April 30, 2019
  • Acres: 16,871
  • Personnel assigned: 152
  • Crews assigned: 6
  • Cause: human, under investigation

DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska – Firefighting equipment has been delivered by helicopters, boats and parachutes to Oregon Lakes Fire crews in the Whitestone Farms, South Bank and Richardson Clearwater River communities. Five pallets of equipment were delivered, and each crew is now fully outfitted.

Crews installed two miles of plumbing along the 2013 Mississippi fire dozer line near Whitestone Farms, and plan to install three additional miles today. Structure protection on cabins and homes on private land and vegetation management efforts are underway in all three areas.

Point protection work in the communities is expected to take up to six days. After that, any of the equipment not needed to protect cabins and other buildings must be removed from the area by helicopters and boats.

Crews are evaluating fire lines constructed during the 2013 Mississippi Fire and determining if those lines can be cleaned up and provide additional defense to cabins and other property. Locations where contingency fire lines could be constructed are being identified.

Northwest Team 11 fire managers are trying to contact all cabin owners to inform them of firefighters’ efforts and get permission for crews to work on private property. Owners of cabins in the three communities who have not spoken with firefighters or fire managers should call (208) 254-1130.

Chinook winds out of the south will begin this afternoon and are forecast to continue through Sunday evening. Vegetation is very dry, and winds could help fire spread to the north. If the fire becomes more active, two retardant bombers and four helicopters slinging water buckets are available to respond to help slow movement of the fire.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area has expanded to cover land south of the Tanana River, east of Delta Creek, west of the Delta River and north of Delta Junction. The TFR is designed to prevent private, commercial, military and drones of any kind from interfering with aerial transportation or suppression efforts. Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause aircraft to be grounded. The public is reminded that, “If you fly, we can’t!”

Weather Forecast: Red Flag warning is in effect from 2:00 pm today until Sunday at 10:00 pm. Temperatures today are predicted in the low 70s and relative humidity will bottom out at 25%. Chinook winds out of the south will develop today at speeds 8-14mph with gusts to 35 mph by tonight.

For More Information

  • Akfireinfo.com
  • Inciweb.nwcg.gov
  • Facebook @BLMAFS
  • Twitter @BLM_AFS
  • Firewise: firewise.org

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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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