Smoke from Caribou Creek Fire blows into Fairbanks; more resources enroute to fire

Fairbanks area residents awoke to the smell of smoke Monday morning as a result of a wildfire burning 25 miles to the east of town.

An aerial photo of the Caribou Creek Fire (#255) during the initial attack response Sunday night. As of 11 p.m. Sunday, the fire was estimated at 500 acres. Alaska Division of Forestry photo,

The Caribou Creek Fire (#255) is burning about 7 ½ miles north of Mile 18 Chena Hot Springs Road. As of 11 p.m. Sunday, the fire was estimated at 500 acres. The fire is burning in continuous black spruce on the north side of the Caribou Creek valley and east of the Little Chena River.

The fire was reported at 5:45 p.m. Sunday by numerous callers who reported seeing a large smoke column in the area. The fire is suspected to be a holdover from lightning strikes in the area during the past few days.

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s Fairbanks Area office mounted an aggressive initial attack response to the fire, sending a helitack load of five firefighters and three engines to the fire. The fire perimeter was reported to be 100 percent active, burning in black spruce with 7-foot high flame lengths. The fire was not accessible by road and two loads of smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service were ordered for the fire.

A map showing the location of the Caribou Creek Fire (#255) burning about 7 1/2-miles north of Mile 18 Chena Hot Springs Road. For a downloadable PDF version of this map go to Caribou Creek Fire PDF map

Multiple aircraft were also sent to the fire for water and retardant drops. Air attack, an air retardant tanker, four helicopters and two water-scooping aircraft were working on the fire at different points.

The 20-person Chena Interagency Hotshot Crew was shuttled into the fire by helicopter late Sunday night and three more crews – the Tanana Chiefs Type 2 Initial Attack Crew and two Type 2 emergency firefighting hand crews from Fairbanks – were enroute Monday morning to be flown into the fire. That will bring the total number of personnel assigned to the fire to approximately 100.

An incident management team is being set up to coordinate suppression efforts on the fire and will be staging out of Two Rivers Elementary School. Firefighters are scouting for a way to access the fire from Two Rivers woodcutting road.

The objectives at this point are to keep the fire east of the Little Chena River, north of the Little Chena Dozer Line and on the west of structures located on the east side of the fire.

A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place in the area for up to 6,000 feet elevation to provide a safe airspace for firefighting aircraft working on the fire.

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907)356-5511.


About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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