Shovel Creek Fire July 6th Evening Update: Watch Slideshow – Burn Operations Continue

Supported by helicopters dropping water, crews will continue securing the perimeter along the northwest corner from the Chatanika River to the 2009 Hardluck Creek Fire scar, south to the Bennet Highway (15 Mile Trail), and east to Murphy Dome. Structure protection will continue for homes, cabins and outbuildings in the Martin, Perfect Perch, Lincoln, Murphy and McCloud neighborhoods, as well as the Chatanika River corridor. Structure assessments are ongoing in other neighborhoods under a Level 1 or 2 Evacuation Alert.

The goal of this firing operation is to secure a solid control line to keep the wildfire on the north side of Old Murphy Dome Road and west of McCloud Subdivision. This will reintroduce fire into Murphy Creek and the surrounding drainages, areas that have not been burned in a long time. Continuous stands of Black Spruce, a tree with highly resinous needles and branches that ignite and burn easily, are present on the landscape. Burning this area now not only reduces the future risk of destructive wildfires, but also provides for public and firefighter safety by reducing risk and exposure.

Fire crews are on their second day of holding the Shovel Creek Fire strategic firing operation. Photo credit: J Michael Johnson/PNW2
Fire crews are on their second day of holding the Shovel Creek Fire strategic firing operation. Photo credit: J Michael Johnson/PNW2

Once this line is completed, firefighters will hold and secure the burn and reassess conditions to determine whether to continue or suspend firing operations further east.

One of the frequently asked questions we receive is, “How can we help the firefighters?” A great way to help all firefighters is to keep your property tidy and create defensible space around your structure. For more information, read the Firewise Alaska brochure at; http://forestry.alaska.gov/Assets/pdfs/home/firewise09.pdf

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