Crews focus on completing protection lines in Richardson Clearwater

Safety Officer Larry Dorshorst and Division Supervisor Tim Hatfield compare notes at the South Bank camp. Photo credit: BLM Alaska Fire Service
Safety Officer Larry Dorshorst and Division Supervisor Tim Hatfield compare notes at the South Bank camp. 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 –  The remaining fire crews will focus efforts for the next few days on completing lines in the Richardson Clearwater community. Structure protection efforts in the communities of South Bank and Whitestone have been completed, with personnel relocating from South Bank to Richardson Clearwater today. Wherever possible and appropriate, firefighters have left in place structure protection equipment  so that suppression action can be swiftly taken if needed. Areas of defensible space created for this fire could be used by firefighters this summer if conditions are warm and dry and the fire has opportunities to advance. The work completed over the past two weeks will also serve to protect the private homes and both state timber and recreational values into the future.

By Monday June 10th, fire crews are projected to have completed their work in the Richardson Clearwater community and will return to their home units. Fire managers will continue to use aerial monitoring to determine if any future suppression actions are required. If the fire behavior increases and moves to the north, fire managers will be able to coordinate suppression efforts based on the strategic plans that take into account the values at risk including military assets, state timber and recreational values, private homes, and the impact of smoke on the communities of Delta Junction, Salcha, North Pole and Fairbanks. 

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 from several areas were 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: A thermal trough remains across the Interior north of the fire. Unstable conditions will continue with increasing chances of thunderstorms and showers over the fire over the next couple days. Near Red Flag Conditions will continue during the afternoon and evening hours as relative humidity values fall to the mid 20s and temperatures will be in the mid 60s to lower 70s

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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