Firefighters working on fires near Minto, Hughes; looking for new starts from recent lightning

Eight smokejumpers, aided by two water-scooping aircraft, were able to knock down a 2-acre fire burning near Ptarmigan Hill about 7-1/2 miles northeast of Minto Saturday night.

The Tractor Trail Fire (#195) is burning about 3 miles northeast of the nearest Native allotment and north of the Minto Flats. The fire was spotted by someone in Minto at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday.  The lightning-caused fire was reported as a patchy burn and burning in black spruce. The smokejumpers anticipate having the fire fully contained today with tentative plans to demobilize tomorrow.

Also possibly tomorrow, firefighters are hoping to wrap things up and possibly leave the Red Mountain Fire (#166) burning 23 miles northeast of Hughes. The BLM Alaska Fire Service’s Chena Interagency Hotshot Crew did a gridded-search for hot spots on half of the 63-acre fire yesterday. That will continue today. The fire has received some precipitation since the hotshots took over for smokejumpers on Wednesday. This lightning caused fire started on June 3. It is considered 62 percent contained.

Both fires are burning in the BLM AFS Tanana Fire Management Zone.

Today, Tanana Zone personnel will fly the area where a fire was reported near the Minto Airport yesterday. The initial aerial search failed to turn up indications of a fire. Fire personnel will return to the area and the expand the search today to also look for other possible new starts from the recent uptick in lightning across Alaska.

As of today, there have been 179 fires with 41 caused by lightning. That is likely to increase in the next couple of days because more lightning is in the forecast.

For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or eipsen@blm.gov.

Map of Tractor Trail Fire burning northeast of Minto and a fire report that has been so far unsubstantiated.
Map of Tractor Trail Fire burning northeast of Minto and a fire report that has been so far unsubstantiated.

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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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