Fire activity picks up in Central Interior

Fire activity is increasing across Interior Alaska.  This activity is predicted to continue with the prolonged hot, dry weather. BLM Alaska Fire Service is staffing fires in the central Interior that are showing signs of accelerated movement as well as responding to smaller, remote fires in order to catch them before they get to be a problem as the weather is expected to reach near Red Flag Conditions in the coming days.

 This includes the Hess Creek Fire (#324) north of Livengood and other fires south of Manley Hot Springs. The community of Manley Hot Springs will see more firefighter personnel and aircraft in the area in support of fires south of the community as fire activity increases with the forecasted hot, dry weather.

 Hess Creek Fire (#324) – This fire was mapped at 6,055 acres on Tuesday.  It has shown considerable movement in the past few days. Because it is burning to the southwest toward mining claims and associated infrastructure, a management organization has been ordered to coordinate efforts.  This fire started on June 21.

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – Four smokejumpers responded Tuesday to this 15-acre fire to assess and begin taking protection measures on a compound of structures and other buildings scattered throughout an area south of the fire. The closest structure is within 3 miles. Firefighters reported the fire was slowly backing down a ridge and moving in the general direction of the structures. The fire is burning about 3.5 miles east of the Cosna River and 14 miles south of where the Cosna flows into the Tanana River. Lloyd Mountain itself is roughly 10 miles to the west and on the opposite side of the river from the fire. This fire is burning in a Limited suppression management option area. However, due to predicted high temperature and dry winds, smokejumpers were sent to the compound to start installing protective gear such as pumps and sprinkler systems in case the fire advances farther to the south. Many of the structures are adjacent to the several water bodies scattered throughout the area. Fortunately, a lake, a cluster of ponds and an old burn area create natural barriers between the fire and the structures.

 Tolovana Fire (#326) – This 17-acre lightning-caused fire started on June 21 and is burning about half a mile from a Native allotment and about 9 miles east of Minto. On Sunday, a squad of emergency firefighters from Minto and Tanana replaced seven of the smokejumpers.  These personnel are working to grid the fire looking for hot spots and mopping up. They plan on doing one more grid on Wednesday before calling it controlled and demobilizing from the fire today.

Bearpaw Fire (#320) – This 21-acre fire is now considered 75 percent contained. It started on June 21 and is burning near cabins and Native allotments, including an occupied residence, on the Kantishna River approximately 57 miles southwest of Nenana. Firefighters on the ground anticipate an extensive job of mopping up the fire due to piles of jack-strawed trees, while the fire’s interior is still holding a lot of heat due to it burning deep in the tundra. The 20-person Snake River Valley fire crew from the Lower 48 replaced some of the smokejumpers Monday. There are a total of 22 firefighters on the fire mopping up  remaining hot spots, including doing a grid search, before they demobilize, possibly as early as Sunday.

Alma Lakes Fire (#378) – Four smokejumpers responded to this new fire burning on 44 miles east of Lake Minchumina on Tuesday. Fire managers decided to take action on this remote fire and catch it while it is small due instead of letting it grow larger with predicted hot, dry conditions. This fire was less than an acre in size. The smokejumpers were going to spend another day mopping up the fire in order to make sure all the hot spots burning deep in the tundra were dealt with.  Tundra is notorious for holding heat.

Big Creek Fire (#366) – This 3-acre fire burning 13 miles west of Ruby since June 23 was contained, controlled and called out by 2 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters were demobilized from the fire later that same day.

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