Hazardous Trees along Elliott Highway – Hess Creek Fire Update 7/12/19

Hess Creek Fire Progression Map

Current Situation:  The two spot fires from the #HessCreekFire that crossed the Elliott Highway on Tuesday grew by five additional acres by the time firefighters finished constructing line Thursday evening. Suppression efforts were impeded by hazardous trees, which continued to fall across the fire line. Firefighters not engaged in full suppression of these spots on the southside of the road focused their attention on monitoring and assessing fire activity around the cabins directly in the path of the fire. Additional resources arrived yesterday to bolster firefighting presence along the Elliott Highway and pick up any spot fires that may occur.

The fire continues to creep down the south side of Amy Dome through a leafy, forested area. Most of Thursday’s growth occurred along the southeast corner. The fire crossed the Tolovana River approximately 7 miles northeast of the Elliott Highway and is approximately 2-½ miles from the Colorado Creek Trailhead.

Due to impacts from smoke hampering visibility, the Southern Idaho Team in command of the fire moved its Incident Command Post 9 miles up the Dalton Highway Thursday.

“Smoke continues to be problematic for our crews,” said Andrew Addey, Incident Commander. “We felt moving the ICP to an area not as heavily impacted by smoke would provide some minor relief to firefighters when they come in to sleep after their operational period.”

Fire Behavior and Weather:  A red flag warning is in effect until midnight Friday due to dry fuels and the potential for numerous lightning strikes. A mixing of thermal troughs over the fire will produce the chance for showers and thunderstorms over the next few days. The shift in weather will also bring a change of wind direction; with winds switching from the northeast to southwest by Thursday afternoon. This should push the fire back into itself and impede growth on the southern edge. The slightly cooler temperatures and continued inversion over the fire is expected to minimize fire activity. Heavy smoke, both in Fairbanks and at the Hess Creek Fire area prevented the helicopter from flying Thursday.

Public Awareness: Visibility on the Elliott Highway will be limited due to smoke as the fire continues to spread to the south. For current road conditions, go to the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities’ 511.alaska.gov website. The public is encouraged to minimize smoke exposure by staying indoors with the windows closed. Stay up-to-date on current air quality information by visiting: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/Alaska.  

Start Date: 6/21/2019
Cause: Lightning
Location: Ignition 12 miles northeast of Livengood
Size: 159,425
Percent Contained: 0%
Total Personnel: 70

Hours of operation: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Contact Fire Information:  208-269-4413
Email: HessCreekFire2019@gmail.com
Website: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6404
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BLMAFS

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