Progress Continues on Tanana Zone Fires

 The cooler temperatures that brought relief to firefighters across the Tanana Zone have also freed up aircraft for missions that have been waiting.  On Tuesday, communications technicians were able to fly to Mooseheart Mountain, south of Manley Hot Springs and install a command radio repeater. This will enable radio communications for a number of staffed fires in the area and the staging area at Manley.  This improvement is important for logistics and resupply as well as an important safety consideration.

There is a weather front approaching the zone from the west that is keeping high pressure south of most of the zone. Later in the week the high pressure is expected to regain the upper hand, bringing back drier conditions and warmer temperatures.

No new fires were reported in the Tanana Zone Monday.  The total number of active fires remains at 15.  To date this year, 22 fires have burned a total of 49,733 acres in the zone.  Here is a rundown of some of the more significant or visible fires:

Iksgiza Fire (#318) – Firefighters have completed most of the mop-up work on this 17-acre fire near Iksgiza Lake. The area is south of the Tanana River, 20 miles southeast of Manley Hot Springs. Containment stands at 95%. The fire has not increased in acreage for several days. The crew on this fire is being moved later today to the Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) to replace smokejumpers who are being brought back to Fairbanks to be ready for future initial attack assignments. Unless significant activity occurs, this fire will no longer be covered in this update.  Information about it may be obtained by calling the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Center at 907-356-5511.

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – This fire appeared very quiet on Wednesday morning.  No fire runs have been observed and fire size still stands at 20,025 acres. It is located approximately 14 miles south of the mouth of the Cosna River. Thirteen smokejumpers have been working on preparing local cabins in two areas along the river since their insertion soon after lightning started the fire on June 23.  They have managed to complete their hose lays and have pumps primed and ready to activate sprinkler systems should the fire begin to close in on any of the structures.  The smokejumpers currently assigned will be brought back to the Alaska Fire Service today after transferring command of the fire to a Type 2 Initial Attack crew currently finishing up on the Iksgiza Fire (#318.)

Foraker Fire (#389) – Five firefighters are still working on site preparation for protection of several cabin sites near this fire in Denali National Park.  The fire is in a Limited Suppression area, 22 miles southeast of Kantishna and has been mapped as covering 10,636 acres. It was started by lightning on June 26. On Wednesday, July 2, an overflight found the fire to be relatively subdued, showing little activity or significant smoke. The only slightly active portions of the fire were in the southwest corner and a small area on the north.   The remainder of the fire exhibited creeping and smoldering fire behavior or appeared from the air to have gone out naturally.  This is a positive development; the fire could burn either north or south where there are no values at risk. There are cabins located both east and west of the fire. The firefighters have worked to protect these cabins should the fire threaten them. They have also cut and developed heli-spots near each cabin to facilitate flying in to start pumps and sprinklers were the fire to advance toward these locations.

Bergman Creek Fire (#312) – This fire is south of the Koyukuk River approximately midway between Allakaket and Hughes.  It is currently mapped as having burned 10,889 acres.  It started from a lightning strike on June 21. Yesterday eight smokejumpers were inserted into this fire to begin site preparation efforts on allotments and cabins. They will clear brush around  cabins and build at least one helispot.  Additional smokejumpers are on order to supplement the initial forces. The fire received some rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

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