Increased fire activity continues in Central Interior

High, dry weather is expected to continue in Central Interior, kicking up fire activity and work for firefighters on fires in BLM Alaska Fire Service Tanana Zone. Only four of the 17 fires burning in the Tanana Zone are staffed. Firefighters are working to contain some fires and to put up protection measures around allotments, cabins and other values at risk. These measures range from as clearing brush, setting up pump and hose lays and sprinkler systems.

Map of fires burning in Central Interior.

There are 17 fires burning in the BLM Alaska Fire Service Tanana Zone as of June 29, 2019. Four of these fires are staffed. Click 6-29-19 TAD fires for PDF version of map.

Here is a rundown of some of the more significant fires in the Tanana Zone that encompasses 44 million acres in the northern middle section of the state:

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – Firefighters were initially dispatched to an area near this 4,616-acre fire on June 25 to assess and begin taking protection measures for a group of structures and other buildings scattered throughout an area fairly close to the fire. The closest structure was within 3 miles and is where fire fighters are concentrating their efforts. 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. While the fire itself is burning in a Limited Suppression area, due to predicted high temperature and dry winds, the firefighters were tasked with installing protective equipment such as pumps and sprinkler systems as the fire advances farther to the south. Smoke conditions had hampered appraisal of fire activity on the fire. However, this changed Friday, enabling firefighters to see the fire burning into the wind, known as backing, along the west side. They also located two more structures in need of protection measures. Using a helicopter, firefighters were able to set up pumps, hoses and sprinklers at both cabin sites. Firefighters estimated that the fire could be as close as ½ mile to a main cabin in this area.

Iksgiza Fire (#318) – This 17-acre fire is across the Tanana River, south of Manley Hot Springs near Iksgiza Lake. It is burning in an area that was burned by the 2018 Zitziana Fire. Despite burning grass and in the old burn, the fire is still burning deep into the ground. A 20-person crew working the fire reported this morning that they have reached 50% containment. They installed pumps and hose around the fire perimeter and are using the water to aid in cooling the burning pockets. The crew reports that control efforts are proceeding well.

Bearpaw Fire (#320) – The crew assigned to this fire has been attending to last minute duties before they are demobilized off the fire later today. Firefighters’ gridded search for residual hot spots continued into Friday night. Because one small hot spot was found overnight, the crew will grid the fire area again this morning to ensure the fire is out before demobilizing, possibly this afternoon. The fire will be placed on monitor status.  This 22-acre fire started on June 21 and burned near cabins and Native allotments, including an occupied residence, on the Kantishna River approximately 57 miles southwest of Nenana and 50 miles northeast of Lake Minchumina.

Foraker Fire (#389) – Five firefighters were mobilized to this fire on Friday. The fire is in a Limited Suppression area, but firefighters were able to map it and prepare for point protection. The fire has burned 1,574 acres since it started on June 27. This fire is located in the northwestern region of the Denali National Park, 30 miles southeast of Lake Minchumina. With the current conditions, this fire is expected to grow and expand, however, it is nowhere near the park road and concentrations of tourists. Wildfire smoke is drifting from other fires some distance away, is very evident on the road system, and built up area of the park. Firefighters will continue work today on protecting the three cabins in the area.

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907)356-5511 or email 2019.afs.fires@gmail.com.

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About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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