Shovel Creek Fire: Fire Crews Complete Burn Operation from the Dozer Line North of Perfect Perch to the Chatanika River

Fire crews working along the dozer line north of Perfect Perch were able to initiate a strategic burn all the way along the prepped fireline along Murphy Creek to the Chatanika River on July 9, 2019 in the evening.

Fire crews were able to take advantage of favorable winds and the support of aviation assets today and this evening to continue the strategic firing operation all of the way north to the Chatanika River. The red dots on the map above indicate the path that the firefighters were able to take advantage of. Having spent the five days after the rain event on June 30th preparing several potential fire lines, including one in Murphy Creek and a separate line down the ridge north of the McCloud neighborhood, crews were well positioned today to successfully burn the west side of the Murphy Creek fire line. The dozer line north of Perfect Perch and the hand line north to the Chatanika River along Murphy Creek is now the primary containment line. If a wind event creates any spot fires to the east of these lines that thwart suppression efforts by firefighters and aviation assets, the dozer line to the west and around McCloud and the handline down the ridge north of McCloud will become the containment line.

Due to the success of recent firing operations around the Murphy Dome and Martin neighborhoods the Pacific Northwest Team 2, managing the fire, has recommended to Fairbanks North Star Borough to lower Evacuation levels from a LEVEL 3 (Go) to a LEVEL 2 (Set) for both the Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods effective at noon on Wednesday, July 10. The McCloud neighborhood will remain at a LEVEL 2 (Set) until firefighters complete the remaining section of line that connects Old Murphy Dome Rd to the Chatanika River. In addition, the team has recommended that the Lincoln, Murphy and Vancouver neighborhoods reduce to a LEVEL 1 (Ready).

The fuel types have been changing from thick black spruce and hardwoods as fire crews worked along the fire line in Murphy Creek to the Chatanika River.

While the evacuation levels have been lowered for these neighborhoods, the risk to both firefighter and public safety remains our number one priority. To assist in a safe re-entry for homeowners, the Alaska National Guard will relocate several of the checkpoints to help facilitate the process. The areas will open to residential traffic and firefighting personnel traveling to and from the fire line.

Access into both the Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods will be staggered to enhance both public and firefighter safety. Beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, residents may enter the neighborhoods using the Murphy Dome and Old Murphy Dome Roads intersection. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., a secondary access route will be opened at the junction of Spinach Creek and Old Murphy Dome Road. The temporary checkpoint at Old Murphy Dome Road and Bennett Highway will be lifted, allowing traffic access to the Chatanika River area. 

Fixed wing aircraft support firefighters on the ground conducting firing operations north from the Perfect Perch dozer line to the hand line in Murphy Creek and finally to the Chatanika River. Photo credit: J Michael Johnson/PNW2/AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry
Fixed wing aircraft support firefighters on the ground conducting firing operations north from the Perfect Perch dozer line to the hand line in Murphy Creek and finally to the Chatanika River. Photo credit: J Michael Johnson/PNW2/AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry

The evacuation shelter at Randy Smith School and the pet shelter at Tanana Fairgrounds, established to meet community needs, will be closed. Fairbanks North Star Borough has the ability to reopen the shelters if the need arises. For additional information and resources on evacuations, please visithttp://fnsb.us/eo/Pages/EM.aspx, or call (907)459-1308.

Shovel Creek Fire ReEntry Hotline: (907)371-4608

  • LEVEL 3 (GO) – None 
  • LEVEL 2 (SET) – McCloud,  Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods 
  • LEVEL 1 (READY) – LincolnMurphy, Vancouver and Chatanika River corridor 

Shovel Creek Fire Information
Fire Information: 907-347-6801
Email: 2019.ShovelCreek@firenet.gov
Shovel Creek Fire: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6400/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AK.Forestry/
Web: www.akfireinfo.com
YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/2L4Qc7M

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