Live Update: “Breaking it Down” – Shovel Creek Fire Saturday, July 13th 2019 Update

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Update – Saturday, July 13th @ 8:00 am

Rob Allen, Incident Commander

Size: 23,734 acres      Containment: 30%     Personnel: 621     Start Date: June 21, 2019       Cause: Lightning

Yesterday, rain throughout the fire area dampened fire behavior providing a break in fire growth. Crews continued to make progress with mop-up operations on the western and southern fire lines securing the line near Murphy Dome and along portions of the 2009 Hardluck fire scar. Today, firefighters will continue mop-up along Old Murphy Dome road and the ridge line north of Perfect Perch to the Chatanika River. During mop-up operations, crews will be extinguishing remaining hot spots and smoldering embers along the fire line to secure the perimeter of the fire.

During this break in fire behavior, crews have taken the opportunity to scout for fire line opportunities along the Chatanika River north of the fire. As work to secure the northern edge continues, structure protection crews have kept hose lays, sprinklers and other equipment in place around the cabins, homes and structures along the Chatanika River. Aerial resources will continue to be available, as smoke and fog conditions allow, to cool hotspots near fire lines.

A small outbuilding was lost within the Martin subdivision north of Old Murphy Dome road. Firefighters had cleared brush and woody debris from around the building, yet with its location below a small ridge within a thicket of black spruce trees and its constructed material, the structure was damaged when fire activity increased.

The rain in the area has cleared some of the smoke. With fire activity to the north and east of Fairbanks, air quality is still forecasted to be a challenge. Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has created a 24-hour smoke respite center in the Chandler Room at 1650 Cowles Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701. The public is also 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

Pacific Northwest Team 2, managing the fire, has recommended that the Fairbanks North Star Borough reduce evacuation levels. The neighborhoods that have previously been in Level 1 (Ready) including the Chatanika River corridor, Drouin, Hardluck, Moose Mountain, Coyote Jones, Hattie Creek, Lincoln Creek, Murphy, and Vancouver neighborhoods will no longer be in an evacuation zone. With the reduced fire and evacuation threat, structure protection equipment is being removed from the neighborhoods to the south and east of Old Murphy Dome road.


Evacuation levels as of 1:00pm on July 12, 2019:

  • LEVEL 1 (READY) – McCloud, Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods

RESOURCES: 5 hotshot crews, 8 Type 2 handcrews, 18 engines, 5 dozers, 7 helicopters, and 17 water tenders

WEATHER:  The forecast continues to call for cooler temperatures in the 60s and scattered showers with light winds for the weekend. A mixture of smoke and fog is expected to hang in the valley around the fire area this morning.  For more information on smoke and air quality, visit: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/Alaska

CLOSURES: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place in the air space over the fire. Pilots are advised to check NOTAMS at: https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_5441.html

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