Crews complete protection work in the South Bank community

Wherever possible, firefighters are using natural features with sparse vegetation to locate the protection lines. The goal is to create shaded fuelbreaks, which involves selectively thinning and removing more flammable understory vegetation while leaving the majority of larger, more fire tolerant tree species in place.
Wherever possible, firefighters are using natural features with sparse vegetation to locate the protection lines. Photo credit: Kale Casey/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 completed property protection lines around private homes in the South Bank community yesterday and will focus efforts today on completing lines in Richardson Clearwater. These lines are located so that they are not visible to the homeowner, but provide an operational point to work from in defense of life and property. After completing each line, firefighters set up pumps and hose for future suppression action if needed. Efforts at the community of Whitestone were the first to be completed, largely because the community maintained the fuelbreaks created by firefighters during the 2013 Mississippi Fire. 

Wherever possible, firefighters are using natural features with sparse vegetation to locate the protection lines. The goal is to create shaded fuelbreaks, which involves selectively thinning and removing more flammable understory vegetation while leaving the majority of larger, more fire tolerant tree species in place. Shaded fuelbreaks leave tundra shaded to avoid either excessive drying of fuels or the melting of permafrost. 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. Smoke was visible yesterday in the areas of the fire where black spruce and hardwoods are dense.

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: Drier conditions and warmer temperatures are expected as north flow minimizes chances for thunderstorm activity over the fire for the next couple of days. Isolated pockets of smoke may become visible as the sunshine continues.

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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