The smoke impact in Fairbanks and the surrounding communities has been significant and has slowed progress being made by fire personnel to establish containment lines along Old Murphy Dome Road. There is smoke being produced by the Shovel Creek Fire, but the fires burning statewide – especially the large fires to the northeast of Fairbanks – are producing smoke that is contributing to these impacts. The UAF Smoke website reflects how the smoke travels through the state and the area in where the smoke is originating from.
The smoke that has settled in Fairbanks has reduced visibility for our aircraft to support our ground crews during the planned burn operations. With the black spruce fuel type being so volatile and the limited availability of aircraft, ground crews have stopped actively firing until they can resume using water delivered by aircraft to support burn operations. Smoke has a fire dampening effect which moderates fire behavior but does not promote optimal burning conditions for the crews on the ground. When thick enough, smoke can ground aircraft supporting firefighters on the ground. Firing operations will be re-evaluated since it is critical work to be able to burn and then quickly mop up control lines along Old Murphy Dome road.
The goal of fire managers has been to shorten the duration of the impact that the wildfire is having on homeowners in neighborhoods that are in Level 3 and Level 2. Fire managers understand that this requires extraordinary patience on the part of impacted residents. Updates will be issued so that neighbors can help neighbors understand the current status of firing operations around homes in the Martin neighborhood.
Level 3 evacuations are still in place, the soft closure that was implemented granting access to homes, has been rescinded due to the burn operation that is being conducted. Residents in the Level 3 areas are requested to contact the Shovel Creek Fire Evacuation Information line at (907)-371-4608. The restrictions are in place for firefighter and public safety and we thank you for your patience. We will continue to update the public as conditions on the ground change.
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Categories: AK Fire Info