Oregon Lakes Fire transitions to local Alaskan Incident Management team; FINAL UPDATE from NW Team 11

Photo of Type 2 Emergency Firefighter Fairbanks #1 Crew checking water levels in a portatank installed as part of structure protection at military observation sites while the crew was assigned to the fire May 17-22.
The Type 2 Emergency Firefighter Fairbanks #1 hand crew checks water levels in portatanks installed as part of structure protection at military observation sites while the crew was assigned to the fire May 17-22. Photo by Tony Peterson, Fairbanks #1 EFF Crew.
  • Start Date: April 30, 2019
  • Acres: 29,296
  • Personnel assigned: 128
  • Crews assigned: 2
  • Cause: human, under investigation

DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska – The Northwest Incident Management Team 11 (NW11) is transitioning command of the Oregon Lakes Fire to a BLM Alaska Fire Service Type 3 management team. The Alaska team will shadow NW11 team today, and will take command of the fire on Friday morning.

Warmer temperatures, clear skies and gusty winds yesterday resulted in moderate fire activity with some growth of the fire. Aerial surveys on Wednesday showed that some stringers of fire are traveling though black spruce.  

The Gannett Glacier and the Tanana Chiefs, both Type 2 Initial Attack crews, are creating property protection firelines near groups of cabins in the Richardson Clearwater and South Bank communities, which are approximately 11 miles from the fire. Firefighters clear brush and create defensible firebreaks around either clusters of homes or individual structures. The firebreaks will allow crews to defend the structures if fire reaches the area at a later date. All sprinkler and hose installations were completed in the Richardson Clearwater, South Bank and Whitestone communities. Helicopters are transporting firefighters and assisting with backhaul of surplus equipment from the communities to the helibase. The fire is not currently threatening any homes or developments.

Fire managers and crews are coordinating with U.S. Army staff to maintain sprinklers and pumps at military observation points on the western side of the fire. Pumps are regularly fueled and hoses are repositioned to keep the structure protection equipment effective.

Photo of the Type 2 Emergency Firefighter Fairbanks #1 hand crew with some mock warfare infrastructure at the military observation sites north of the Oklahoma Range on the west side of Donnelly Training Area West.
The Type 2 Emergency Firefighter Fairbanks #1 hand crew was assigned to the Oregon Lakes Fire May 17-22 to install structure protection measures such sprinkler systems and clear brush at military observation sites. A mock warfare display is in the background. Photo by Tony Peterson, Fairbanks #1 EFF Crew

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was extended to include the area on the western fire perimeter that burned during the wind event on May 25-26. The TFR is designed to protect aerial transportation and suppression efforts related to the fire from interference from prevent private, commercial, military or drones of any kind.

Weather Forecast: A warming trend has brought conditions to a “near Red Flag warning” on the Oregon Lakes Fire today. Temperatures will be in the 70s and humidity should bottom out in the low 20%. Southeast winds are forecasted to be between 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Chances of rain are increasing for Friday and Saturday. Conditions are supporting the rapid transition to green-up throughout the fire area. As this happens, the primary fuel of concern will transition from dead fine fuels from the previous winter to spruce.

For More Information

  • 2019_akmid_OregonLakes@firenet.gov
  • (208) 254-1130
  • Inciweb.nwcg.gov
  • Facebook @BLMAFS
  • Twitter @BLM_AFS
  • Firewise: firewise.org
Map of Oregon Lakes Fire perimeter 5-30-19

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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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