A 10-person module of Utah firefighters assumed control of the Rainbow 2 Fire west of Delta Junction on Tuesday.
The fire was started by lightning on June 29 about 15 miles west of Delta Junction and has grown to an estimated 5,000 acres, based on a Tueday reconnaissance flight, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. Aircraft has occasionally been used to drop water and a water enhancer called BlazeTamer on the fire to slow its spread, but no firefighters have been put on the ground to fight it.
The fire is advancing west, burning in black spruce, and the head of the fire is about 2 miles south of the Delta Logging Road and approximately 3 ½ miles south of the Richardson Clearwater River, where there are multiple recreational cabins.
Structure protection measures were set up around those cabins earlier this year for the Oregon Lakes Fire, which burned 34,499 acres in May and early June. Pumps, hose and sprinklers were set up around the cabins and are still in place.
The fire-use module, which is from the Ashley National Forest in Utah, won’t be directly fighting the fire but will be checking to make sure the structure protection equipment is still in place and working in the event the fire moves north and threatens the cabins. Fire use modules specialize in fire monitoring, planning and burning.
When checked from the air on Monday and Tuesday, the fire was moving west, fueled by an east wind and occasional stringers of black spruce. The fire is now approximately 2 to 3 miles east of Rainbow Lake. Hose, sprinklers and a pump were set up around a cabin on the lake after the fire started.
The fire’s progress on the east side has slowed after it ran into hardwoods. A fire scar on the south had slowed the fire’s advance in that direction and minimal activity was observed on that end of the fire.
The fire is burning in a mosaic pattern, leaving scattered patches of burned and unburned fuel in its wake.