Boundary River & McArthur Creek Fire Updates 7-9-2019

At 7:00 a.m. this morning, The National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) took command of the Boundary River Fire (#362), approximately 40 miles southeast of Tok, and the McArthur Creek Fire (#133), 16 miles east of Northway. The Boundary Fire is now 14,888 acres, a reduction in acreage due to better mapping. The McArthur Fire is 27,344 acres.

NIMO is a full-time, national, Forest Service Incident Management Team (IMT) comprised of seven people qualified to manage the most complex fires. They were asked, by the Alaska Division of Forestry in Tok, to take these two fires because of the potential need to scale up operations should the weather and fire behavior become a problem in future days. The IMT will also be responsible for initial attack on new fires in the area.

Five crews continued to work westward on the northern flank of the Boundary River Fire, making slow progress in difficult terrain, laying hose and checking the fire’s spread toward Northway. The fire continued to burn along the eastern perimeter, cleaning up unburned areas of black spruce as it advances toward the Nabesna River. The same work will continue today. Protection work is also progressing on two allotments that lie between the fire and Northway. Jet boats and helicopters are ferrying supplies to crew along the Nabesna River and to camps where the crews are living. Two camp crews from Northway have been hired and have done excellent work supporting the crews and have had the length of their assignment extended.

The McArthur Creek Fire (#133) has 11 members of the Tanana Chief’s crew whose primary mission is protecting structures out ahead of the northern flank of the fire. The fire is contributing to the smoke seen by residents and visitors across the Tanana River Valley. Today, operations personnel will do a closer assessment of this fire’s potential and determine what future actions and staffing are necessary to stop its spread north and east toward the Alaska Highway. A significant portion of the fire is burning in Canada and being monitored by Yukon Wildland Fire Management.

The weather is likely to remain the same for the next week to 10 days. There are concerns about the potential for significantly increased fire behavior due to warm, dry weather continuing over most of the state and a shortage of resources that are already stretched thin.

A temporary flight restriction remains in effect over the fire area, which includes drones. More information on the TFR can be found at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_5784.html.

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