Caribou Creek Fire east of Fairbanks 70 percent contained; mop up continues

The 310-acre Caribou Creek Fire east of Fairbanks was 70 percent contained as of Friday morning, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. Firefighters continue working toward full containment on the fire burning north of Chena Hot Springs Road near the community of Two Rivers.

Two helicopters sit at the helibase for the Caribou Creek Fire iin Two Rivers on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. The helicopters are used to shuttle crews and supplies in and out of the fire. Photo by Tim Mowry/Alaska Division of Forestry

Two helicopters sit at the helibase for the Caribou Creek Fire iin Two Rivers on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. The helicopters are used to shuttle crews and supplies in and out of the fire. Photo by Tim Mowry/Alaska Division of Forestry

There are 165 firefighters working on the fire, which was started by lightning on June16 and is burning on a remote ridge approximately 7 ½ miles north of Chena Hot Springs Road near milepost 18. The fire has not increased in size in several days.

Fire behavior on Thursday and Friday was reported to be minimal with smoldering and occasional torching on the interior of the fire. Firefighters are mopping up along the 4 ½-mile perimeter of the fire, seeking out hotspots 300 feet inside the perimeter to ensure the fire doesn’t re-ignite and spread outside the containment line into unburned fuel. Crews are working to clean up areas where trees fell when the root systems were burned or were cut down to construct containment line around the fire. Trees that are cut up are then being bone piled to create a safe working environment for firefighters.

Crews are focusing much of their effort on the west side of the fire near the top of the ridge it is burning on. The fire burned extremely deep in that area, causing trees to fall and create a jackstraw effect, which requires substantial chainsaw work by crews.

On the bottom half of the fire, crews are continuing to secure 100 feet in from the perimeter. Hose and pumps have been placed around the entire fire to provide firefighters with a water supply to extinguish any hot spots they find.

Helicopters stationed at a helibase in Two Rivers are being used to shuttle crews to different spots on the fire and to backhaul trash and/or supplies that are no longer needed. Due to the remote nature of the fire, crews have been staying in spike camps at strategic spots around the fire and all supplies and food must be hauled in by helicopter.
Some crews will begin timing out in the next few days and will rest up before being sent to other higher priority fires around the state. Crews will be brought in to replace crews that are timing out on an as needed basis.

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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