Chinook Winds increase Oregon Lakes Fire activity

The Pioneer Peak Hotshots are completing the last day of their two week assignment on the Oregon Lakes Fire and are being replaced by another crew.
  • Start Date: April 30, 2019
  • Acres: 17,465
  • Personnel assigned: 151
  • Crews assigned: 4
  • Cause: human, under investigation

DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska – After several days of low fire behavior, high winds from the south increased activity of the Oregon Lakes Fire Saturday night. The fire expanded along the western perimeter, but has not moved northward. Smoke from the southwest perimeter mixed with sand from the Delta River to form clouds visible in Delta Junction. Transportation and observation flights were cancelled due to high winds Saturday afternoon. Red Flag conditions are forecast to continue today.

Structure protection on cabins and homes on private land and vegetation management efforts are underway in all three areas. Crews in Whitestone, South Bank and Richardson-Clearwater communities are assembling sprinkler kits at each home site to protect structures. Each kit contains sprinklers, hoses, and fixtures that connect to a pump and water source. They are also creating a current inventory of houses and cabins with GPS locations.

Crews and fire managers continue efforts to locate cabin and homeowners in all three communities to confirm 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.

Crews brushed out existing firelines constructed during previous fires that surround Whitestone and Richardson-Clearwater, and continue to look for places to build additional fireline to protect all three communities. The Carla Lake Road (also known as Delta Creek Logging Road) is currently not adequate for a fireline because parts are surrounded by black spruce and lack safety zones.

The Tanana Chiefs Crew is scheduled to replace the Pioneer Peak Crew in South Bank, which has completed two weeks of work on the Oregon Lakes Fire and is timing out. Weather permitting, the Tanana Chiefs Crew will be flown to South Bank today. Air operations will also continue supporting crews with equipment and supplies, and launch observation flights on the fire.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains over the fire and the Whitestone, South Bank and Richardson Clearwater communities. The TFR is designed to prevent private, commercial, military and drones of any kind from interfering with aerial transportation or suppression efforts.

Weather Forecast: Red Flag warning is in effect 10:00 pm tonight. Temperatures today are predicted in the low 70s and relative humidity will bottom out at 24%. Chinook winds out of the south will continue today at speeds 15-30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph by tonight.

For More Information

  • (208)254-1130
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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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