Shovel Creek Fire July 1st: Firefighters Reposition and Take Advantage of Rain Over the Fire Area

Rain fell over the fire area Sunday and into Monday morning, significantly decreasing fire activity and giving firefighters a much-needed break. Although the Chatanika River

IMG_4109

Firefighting efforts on the Shovel Creek Fire, located north of Murphy Dome, northwest of Fairbanks, Alaska. Structure protection efforts in the Lincoln Subdivision. Photo Credit: Mike Johnson/Alaska Incident Management Team

remote weather station, located 5 miles northwest of the fire, measured 0.3 inches of rain, the cool, wet weather will not last long as a ridge of high pressure will build this week bringing hot, dry weather back to Interior Alaska.

The Shovel Creek Fire has now burned more than 10,000 acres and is perceived to be a long-duration wildfire that will persist for days to come in the absence of a measureable amount of precipitation. Many structures are threatened and under a Level 1, 2, or 3 Evacuation Alert. Statewide, Alaska has nearly exhausted all local resources, and many fire managers have been committed to supporting large fires. These variables have increased the complexity of managing the Shovel Creek Fire, and consequently a Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered to assume command of the wildfire.

Crews installed and tested water pumps, hoses, and sprinkler systems to protect structures along the banks of the Chatanika River. Additional firefighters and supplies are being shuttled to locations along the River. With point protection in place for the Martin Subdivision, firefighters continue assessing and preparing structures in the Lincoln Creek, Perfect Perch, Murphy and McCloud subdivisions. This work includes creating defensible space by cutting and removing vegetation close to structures, installing sprinklers and relocating combustible materials, such as wood piles, from cabins and other structures.

PIO_ArcC_land_20190630_2340_ShovelCreek_AKFAS911319_0701day.jpg

July 1, 2019 Shovel Creek Fire Perimeter Map

Firefighters will hold, improve and mop up the established containment line that extends west of Murphy Dome into the Hardluck Creek Fire scar. With an anchor point in place, crews and equipment will continue to improve the fuel break along Old Murphy Dome Road that will serve as a primary indirect control line. This network of existing roads and previously established fire breaks extends 8 miles east from Murphy Dome to Perfect Perch subdivision and then turns north for 4 miles to the McCloud subdivision. Work will continue to establish an indirect line below Murphy Creek north to the Chatanika River.

In coordination with Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations, structure inventory and assessments have been expanded to include structures and properties further east. An Evacuation shelter has been established at Randy Smith Middle School (1401 Bainbridge Blvd, Fairbanks, AK) to accommodate displaced residents. Additionally, a temporary pet shelter is located at the Tanana Fairgrounds.

EVACUATION ALERTS:

52 Structures in LEVEL 3 (GO)Martin (42 structures) and Perfect Perch (10 structures) subdivisions;

93 Structures in LEVEL 2 (SET)Lincoln Creek (64 structures), McCloud (10 structures), and Murphy (19 structures) subdivisions;

LEVEL 1 (READY) – Chatanika River corridor

A Level 3 Evacuation means GO! Evacuate now. Leave immediately. The danger in your area is current and you should evacuate immediately. Do not delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home. Drive calmly and with special attention to emergency vehicles. Do not block access to roadways for Emergency vehicles or other evacuees. This will be the last notice you will receive after evacuation. “Check in” at an emergency shelter. Whether you stay there or not, “checking in” will help others know that you are safe. Take pets to a PET Evacuation Shelter. Do not call 911 for non-emergencies. Do not attempt to re-enter the fire area until it is declared safe to do so. A call center is available for additional information at (907) 459-1308. Remember the 6-P’s; People, Pets, Pills, Photos, Personal (computer back-up info), and important Papers.

WEATHER: A cold front is moving thru the area, bringing the possibility of wetting rain tonight to the fire area. Temperatures will be cooler for the next couple of days with highs in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s. Hot and dry weather will resume as a high pressure system is predicted to through the week.

SAFETY: An increase in fire activity for several area fires is contributing to increased smoke in the Fairbanks area. Residents in the area are asked to avoid the Murphy Dome area due to the firefighting activity and the potential for interfering with fire personnel. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place in the air space over the fire. Pilots are advised to check NOTAMS at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_0263.html.

###

 

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: