Significant growth in Oregon Lakes Fire documented

Cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and light winds have reduced activity in the Oregon Lakes Fire. Scattered showers are not sufficient to put the fire out.
  • Start Date: April 30, 2019
  • Acres: 28,770
  • Personnel assigned: 128
  • Crews assigned: 2
  • Cause: human, under investigation

DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska – High winds on Saturday and Sunday nights caused the Oregon Lakes Fire to significantly grow to the west. A lull in winds Monday allowed fire personnel to fly over the fire and verify the boundary with GPS points. It is now estimated at 28,770 acres, an increase of nearly 12,000 acres since Saturday morning.

A Red Flag warning ended at 10 p.m. Monday. Decreased winds and rain showers on Monday quieted the fire. However, the rain was not sufficient to put the fire out.

Retardant air tankers and water-scooping airplanes were successful in defending military observation points along the road north of the Oklahoma Range. Sprinkler systems activated at the observation points were effective.

Most of the new fire growth was in dry flashy fuels west of the fire. It has burned through stringers of black spruce surrounded by birch and aspen, but the fire activity has been mainly an understory burn. It is not currently threatening any homes or developments.

Squads from the Gannett Glacier and the Tanana Chiefs, both Type 2 Initial Attack crews, expect to complete structure protection efforts in the Whitestone, Richardson-Clearwater and South Bank communities today. Structure protection will be completed in the Whitestone area this morning. In the Richardson-Clearwater, firefighters will continue to reduce burnable vegetation near structures and install hose and sprinklers. In South Bank, crews are reducing vegetation and installing pumps and sprinklers near a few remaining cabins. Crews are also mapping potential property protection firelines.

Most property owners in the Richardson-Clearwater and Whitestone communities were contacted and gave permission for firefighters to work on their land. Fire managers still need to locate property, cabin and home owners in the South Bank area. Owners of cabins in the three communities who have not spoken with firefighters or fire managers should call (208) 254-1130.

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: Winds will decrease to 5-10 mph out of the northwest today. Temperatures in the 60s and relative humidity in the 35% range are expected. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms will move through the area bringing light and variable winds and lightning. Increased humidity and rain will help quiet, but not extinguish the fire. 

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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