Crews continue protection work before renewed warm, dry weather

Aerial view of a fuelbreak in the Richardson Clearwater community. Photo by Maggie Demers, BLM Alaska Fire Service
Aerial view of a fuelbreak in the Richardson Clearwater community. Photo by Maggie Demers, BLM Alaska Fire Service
  • Start Date: April 30, 2019
  • Acres: 31,850
  • Personnel assigned: 89
  • Crews assigned: 3 – (Gannett Glacier & Tanana Chiefs Type 2 IA, North Star Type 2 Crew)
  • Cause: human, under investigation

DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska –  Crews continue to construct the property protection fuelbreaks and structure protection measures near groups of cabins located in the Richardson Clearwater and South Bank areas. The BLM Alaska Fire Service North Star Type 2 hand crew arrived yesterday to bolster these labor intensive efforts, which mainly include cutting and stacking vegetation. Fuelbreaks not only interrupt the continuity of vegetation, they provide ground and aerial resources an operational point to work from in defense of life and property. Efforts at the community of Whitestone have been completed, largely because the community maintained the fuelbreaks created by firefighters during the 2013 Mississippi Fire. 

These areas of defensible space created for this fire could be necessary this summer if conditions are warm and dry and the fire has opportunities to advance. While rain and higher humidities have greatly impacted the fire in the open and hardwood areas, heat is sheltered in the spruce and duff – the layer of partially decomposed leaves, twigs and bark beneath the understory. Because it is still early in the fire season, expect the fire to become more active and produce smoke once conditions become warm and dry.

Another fuelbreak, the shear blade line, was constructed over the past five years by the U.S. Army, in conjunction with BLM Alaska Fire Service Military Zone, in recognition that the area is prone to rapidly growing wildfires. The line, combined with the winter trail, was used by crews to conduct burn operations to remove burnable vegetation to reduce the likelihood it would spread. With the exception of one small area, the fire has so far kept to the south of this line.

Drenching rains over the weekend greatly reduced fire activity, however, just how much impact it had on the fire has yet to be determined as the conditions once again turn warm and dry.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The TFR is designed to protect aerial transportation and suppression efforts related to the fire from interference from private, commercial, military aircraft or drones of any kind. 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: A gradual drying and slow warming trend will occur over the next few days. Minimum relative humidity levels are expected to drop in to the 30s over the fire this afternoon. Temperatures and winds are expected to remain below Red Flag for today and as the sunshine continues isolated pockets of smoke may become visible.

For More Information

  • Incident phone number: (208) 254-1130
  • Incident email: 2019_AKMID_OregonLakes@firenet.gov
  • Inciweb.nwcg.gov
  • Facebook @BLMAFS
  • Twitter @BLM_AFS
  • Firewise: firewise.org

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Note: There has been no updated map since 5-31-19.

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