State forestry strategizing to manage 1,700-acre wildfire southeast of Tok

The Alaska Division of Forestry is formulating a plan to manage an approximately 1,689-acre wildfire southeast of Tok.

An aerial photo of the 1,689-acre Boundary River Fire taken on Thursday during initial attack. Photo by Peter Talus/Alaska Division of Forestry

The Boundary River Fire (#362) was reported at around 5 p.m. Sunday as a 1-acre fire burning in black spruce and tundra approximately 40 miles southeast of Tok and 12 miles southwest of Northway.

Driven by wind, the fire made a 4-mile run and grew rapidly to about 1,600 acres in one hour. Water-scooping aircraft and air attack responded for initial attack and dropped water on the fire until 8 p.m. to slow its progress. No other personnel were assigned to the fire given the low probability of success in catching it.

The fire received some precipitation on Tuesday, which slowed its progress, but it’s uncertain how much rain fell on the fire. State forestry is organizing a Type 3 incident management team to take command of the fire.

The fire is burning about 1 ½ miles northeast of the 2018 Taxisalda Hill Fire that burned 27,194 acres. There are four cabins, a Remote Automated Weather Station and two Native allotments south of the fire.

The plan today was for a Type 2 emergency firefighting crew from Kalskag to boat down the Nabesna River to begin setting up point protection for the cabins. The fire is about 1 mile west of the Nabesna River where the cabins are located. Saw lines were cut around the two Native allotments during last year’s Taxisalda Hill Fire and point protection measures were also taken around the RAWS station during that fire.

A reconnaissance flight on Monday revealed a large unburned island north to the north and the rest of the fire is currently burning to the southeast toward the Taxisalda Hill Fire footprint.

Firefighters are also wrapping up work on another fire burning near the Boundary River Fire. The 90-acre Northway DOT Fire is located approximately 3 ½ miles west on the opposite side of the Nabesna River.

The fire was started by lightning on Thursday, June 20 and grew from 2 acres to 10 acres in an hour. Air attack, smokejumpers and water-scooping aircraft responded and began working the fire. The fire grew to 90 acres by the next morning but smokejumpers were able keep it contained to that size.

The Tanana #1 Type 2 emergency firefighting crew replaced the smokejumpers on Sunday and began mopping up. Another Type 2 crew from Chevak was brought in on Monday to assist with mop-up operations. The fire was declared controlled at 9 p.m. on Monday with full containment expected by 9 p.m. Tuesday.

 

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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