Water and retardant drops help keep Caribou Creek Fire in check

With the help of water and retardant drops by aircraft, fire activity on the Caribou Creek Fire burning about 25 miles east of Fairbanks has moderated considerably. The fire continues to smolder and creep with some isolated torching but fire behavior has mellowed since the fire was reported early Sunday night.

The fire is actually shrinking as a result of more accurate mapping. As of Tuesday night, the fire was estimated at approximately 270 acres, a decrease of more than 100 acres from Monday. The fire was 15 percent contained as of Tuesday night, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.

A photo of the Caribou Creek Fire taken Tuesday afternoon. The fire is now estimated at approximately 240 acres, a decrease of about 150 acres from Monday due to more accurate mapping. Photo by Gordon Amundson/Alaska Division of Forestry

The fire is burning approximately 7 ½ miles north of Mile 18 Chena Hot Springs Road and is not accessible by road. The fire is located on the north side of Caribou Creek and east of the Little Chena River.

All personnel are being flown into the fire by helicopter and are staying in spike camps set up around the fire perimeter. As of Tuesday morning, there were 95 personnel working on the fire.

Helicopters, water-scooping aircraft and an air tanker dropped water and retardant on and around different parts of the fire perimeter again on Tuesday to slow the spread and provide opportunities for firefighters to take direct action and construct containment lines. There are four crews working to secure both active flanks of the fire and 16 smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service are working to secure the head of the fire near the top of a ridge. The fire burned up a hillside through black spruce but its progress slowed when it reached a stand of hardwoods at the top of the hill.

The objectives are to keep the fire east of the Little Chena River, north of the Little Chena Dozer Line constructed during the 2004 Boundary Fire and west of structures on the east side of the fire.

There are no structures immediately threatened by the fire but there are two cabins to the south and southwest that firefighters are assessing to determine what protection measures need to be taken in the event the fire moves in that direction.

Smoke from the fire wafted into Fairbanks on Monday morning and the smell of smoke was evident in the Two Rivers area on Tuesday morning. Smoke could return, depending on wind direction and fire activity.

A helibase and staging area for firefighting personnel has been set up at Two Rivers Elementary School near Mile 18 of Chena Hot Springs Road and motorists in that area are advised to use caution for firefighting vehicles on the roadway.

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: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ 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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