With assistance from a heavy aerial assault featuring multiple air tankers and water-scooping aircraft, eight smokejumpers were able to corral a lightning-caused wildfire near Lake Louise on Sunday night.
The Lake Louise Fire was reported at 45 acres as of Monday morning, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. The fire is located about 4 miles west of Lake Louise and 35 miles northwest of Glennallen. The closest structures are about 3 miles from the fire and are not immediately threatened.
The fire was initially reported at 7 p.m. Sunday and was sized up as 20 acres with a 100 percent active perimeter burning in black spruce and tundra. The fire ran into a riparian area that helped slow it down and aircraft were able to take advantage by attacking the fire from the air.
Four air tankers four water-scoopers based at Palmer were immediately launched to the fire. The air tankers dropped four loads of retardant to box the fire in all four sides and water scoopers dropped multiple loads of water on the flanks of the fire to knock down flames and slow its spread. Given the fire’s proximity to Lake Louise, water scoopers proved to very effective in slowing fire spread.
Eight smokejumpers were deployed on the fire at around 9:45 p.m. and worked until about 2 a.m. putting a preliminary containment line around the fire. The plan for today is to replace the eight smokejumpers with a 20-person initial attack crew.