Rain Falls on Tanana Zone Fires

Many fires within the Tanana Zone experienced rain on Friday, with southern fires receiving more rainfall than northern fires. Smoky conditions and low ceilings prevented many planned flights from taking place, but with today’s increasing visibility it appears that supplies can be delivered and crews can be transported. Thunderstorms are predicted today, but with less lightning and more associated rain. Relative humidity within the Zone is expected to be 40% or greater.

The four staffed fires within the Tanana Zone are described below:

Grouse Creek (#485) – 1781 acres, 37 firefighters

The Grouse Creek Fire is six miles northeast of Rampart, on the Yukon River. Cool temperatures, higher humidity and significant winds were reported in the area. The Prineville Hotshots are constructing indirect line and clearing brush and flammable material on the east side of Rampart. The Smokejumpers’ operational priority is to install water handling equipment for structure protection. The New Jersey Type 2 Initial Attack Crew and Northern New Mexico Type 3 Team will be arriving by boat this afternoon. Skies cleared enough for infrared mapping to take place on Friday, and the acreage was found to be about 10% less than the previous estimate.  The fire continues to burn by consuming duff and interior fuels, but no fire movement was reported. Firefighters are continuing to locate and provide protection to inhabited homes and cabins and other nearby structures. A community meeting will be held in Rampart at 3:00 p.m. today.

Bergman Creek Fire (#312) – 42,000 acres – 19 firefighters

The Bergman Creek Fire is 27 miles northeast of Hughes, and on the east side of the Koyukuk River. The fire experienced gusty south winds at about 2 p.m. Friday which cleared the smoke sufficiently for a quick flight. Observed fire behavior was low intensity, but about 40% of the perimeter was actively burning. By 7:30 p.m. the wind had calmed and the air had cooled considerably. Firefighters cut out a fire break on a nearby allotment on Friday, and started work on another allotment. A Type 2 Initial Attack crew from Ohio is in the process of moving to the Bergman Creek Fire today. Firefighters reported that thunderstorms were active in the area during the night and a drizzly rain had set in this morning.

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – 19,377 acres – 22 firefighters

The Lloyd Mountain Fire, ignited by lightning on June 23rd, is located along the Cosna River about 14 miles south of its confluence with the Tanana River. Rain fell on the fire Thursday and tapered off during the day. Smoke never lifted, however, and visibility didn’t improve beyond a maximum of one mile. No flights came in or out, due mostly to the smoke but also to changing priorities with the Grouse Creek Fire near Rampart. Firefighters reported this morning that the air was clearing and that flights may be possible to deliver maps and supplies.

Foraker Fire (#389– 45,000 acres, 5 firefighters The fire is in Denali National Park, 22 miles west of Kantishna.  Wetting rain and cooler temperatures slowed the fire growth last night and today.   The RAWS (Remote Automated Weather Station) at Kantishna, located about five miles from the north half of the fire, reported 2.6 inches of rain, and actually reported an error because of too much rain. Visibility is improved today and plans are in place to fly the fire for assessment this morning.

Multiple sources of information on smoke are located on the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Air Quality web page.

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907) 356-5511 or email 2019.AFS.FIRES@gmail.com.

Map of fires in the Tanana Zone July 13, 2019

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