Firefighters on Tuesday began what is expected to be an extensive mop-up operation on the 310-acre Caribou Creek Fire burning north of Chena Hot Springs Road near the community of Two Rivers.
As of Tuesday morning, the fire was reported to be 65 percent contained, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. There are 159 personnel working on the fire, which was started by lightning on June 16. The fire is located on a remote ridge approximately 7 ½ miles north of Chena Hot Springs Road near milepost 18.
The fire will require extensive mop up because of the number of spruce trees that have fallen across the saw line that firefighters cut around the fire and how deep into the duff the fire burned. The fire burned extremely 1 ½ deep feet in some areas and burned the root systems of trees, causing them to fall and jackstraw.
Firefighters have set up pumps and laid hose lines around the 4 ½-mile perimeter of the fire to help with mop up. The water will be used to extinguish hotspots firefighters find along and inside the containment line that was cut around the fire.
On Tuesday, crews were shuttled by helicopter to the west edge of the fire where it burned deepest. Because of the slope the fire is located on and intense fire behavior it exhibited, firefighters will grid for hot spots 300 feet inside the perimeter to ensure the fire does not flame up again.
The fire has also required extensive logistical support because it is not road accessible and all personnel and supplies are being flown in in sling loads by helicopter. Everything that has been flown into the fire must now be flown out.
More crews are expected to arrive at the fire on Wednesday to replace crews that are timing out or being assigned to higher-priority fires.