High Fire Danger and Advisory Remain in Effect for Upper Yukon

The Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for the Upper Yukon and south central Alaska remains in effect. Spruce stands are extremely flammable, will ignite easily, spread rapidly at 1 mile per hour or faster, torch and spot prolifically up to a quarter mile or more, and exhibit intense crown fire behavior. Temperatures above 80 degrees and relative humidity that falls below 30% are important thresholds for rapid spread and crown fire behavior. The public is urged to review the weather forecast and monitor fireline conditions. In addition, green fuels are becoming stressed and drought conditions may develop, encouraging spread into recent burn scars and less flammable hardwood forests. Again, the Upper Yukon is hot, dry and ready to burn.

There are 23 fires burning within the Upper Yukon Fire Management Zone that covers the eastern Interior. Here is a breakdown of the fires of most interest burning in the Yukon Flats and surrounding areas:

Black River Fire (#262) – Firefighters continue to make good progress on structure protection in the vicinity of the Black River Fire burning 54 miles east of Circle. The fire is currently estimated at 22,651 acres, an increase of 2,240 acres since last mapped on July 3. A light rain fell on the fire area two nights in a row, temporarily slowing the fire activity. However, it has also stalled efforts to conduct a burn operation to construct a buffer around Native allotments and cabins in the area. Additional smokejumpers have arrived to assist with structure protection and prepare for potential burnout operations. There are a total of 47 personnel assigned to the fire including the eight-person Emergency Firefighter K-River squad and the BLM Alaska Fire Service’s training crew, the North Star Crew.

Hadweenzic River Fire (#337) – Firefighters are waiting for favorable conditions to begin burning out around several allotments near this 27,161-acre fire burning 35 miles west of Fort Yukon. Multiple occupied structures and allotments are located to the west and southwest of this incident. Forecast weather and winds this weekend may change the fire spread in the direction toward these allotments. Firefighters have worked tirelessly to prepare those structures and allotments in the event the shift in fire direction occurs.

Tractor Trail 2 Fire (#348) – This 10,055-acre fire was last reported moving toward the north, into a previously burned area. The fire is approximately 38 miles southeast of Fort Yukon. The 12 firefighters assigned to this fire have completed clearing perimeters of allotments and cabins in the area. They are moving to new areas as of today.

Chandalar River Fire (#349) –There are several allotments within 2-3 miles of the fire. Forecast conditions for warming, drying and potential wind shift may encourage fire spread away from the community of Venetie. The fire picked up in activity last night. The firefighters stayed busy pretreating nearby allotments with water in the event that the fire made a run back toward the protection lines. Some burnout operations occurred yesterday, but the weather conditions weren’t quite favorable enough to continue. The firefighters are expecting those burn conditions to improve this Sunday. The fire is still estimated at 75 acres.

Eagle Fire (#355) – Firefighters finished up searching for hot spots on this 75-acre fire today and expect to declare the fire 100% contained by end of shift today. The firefighters will be reassigned to other incidents as needed.

Christian River Fire (#379) – Firefighters are breaking down camp today and doing a final check of the fire line. Firefighters declared the fire 100% contained at the end of their shift on Thursday, July 4 and will be leaving the fire today.

Bearnose Hill Fire (#407) – This 1,744-acre fire is burning approximately 11 miles from Chalkyitsik between the Tiinkdhul Lake (#342) and Tractor Trail 2 (#348) fires. Fire activity increased due to gusty winds, pushing the fire to the northeast. The 38 firefighters assigned to this area are working on protecting allotments surrounding a lake approximately 4 miles south of Chalkyitsik. They’ll continue to cut and set up with a hose lay system in preparation of burning around the allotments. Firefighters on the ground said the fire appears to have checked itself in an old burned area. It is burning quickly through spruce in the area and backing in tundra and hardwoods.

Sources of information on smoke are located on the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Air Quality web page.

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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