Rainbow 2 Fire approaches cabins on Richardson Clearwater River

Following a wind-driven run to the north on Thursday night, the Rainbow 2 fire has burned to within one-quarter mile of the nearest structures on the Richardson Clearwater River northwest of Delta Junction.

The fire was started by lightning on June 29 and has been burning about 15 miles northwest of Delta Junction.

On Thursday night, a storm cell moved over the fire and strong south winds pushed the fire approximately 3 miles to the northeast toward the Richardson Clearwater River, where there are multiple recreational cabins.

All the cabins on the Richardson Clearwater River were triaged with structure protection in the form of pumps, hose and sprinklers during the Oregon Lakes Fire in May, which was about 8 miles south of where the Rainbow 2 Fire started. That equipment remains in place and has been checked to make sure it is working. The pumps and sprinklers will be turned on, if needed.

The Rainbow 2 Fire is being managed by a Type 3 Incident management team with a fire use module of 10 firefighters with expertise in structure protection and wildfire monitoring. In addition, two Initial Attack squads of five firefighters each and a helitack squad of five personnel have been assigned to the fire. Two Blackhawk helicopters are assisting with bucket drops of water on the northern flank of the fire closest to the Richardson Clearwater cabins. Two river boats have been contracted for transportation of firefighters, equipment and supplies.

A military blackhawk helicopter slings a water bucket to aid firefighter efforts on the Rainbow 2 Fire. Photo credit Alaska Division of Forestry

An infrared Unmanned Aerial System (drone) flight has been requested to help locate hot spots on the northern edge of the fire. The perimeter was mapped by helicopter Saturday morning  and is now estimated at 11,919 acres. Flights for mapping and reconnaissance have not been possible during the past few days due to smoke and low visibility.

Teams are working to keep the fire from encroaching further into the Richardson Clearwater community, assessing the fire and evaluating what additional resources may be needed. The helitack squad is flying reconnaissance and helping locate hot spots.

Current weather conditions in the area are cool and damp. Higher relative humidity and occasional precipitation is keeping fire behavior to a minimum and is allowing firefighters to safely work in the area.

The fire is burning primarily in black spruce. Mixed hardwoods and an old burn scar in the path of the fire are slowing its progress. Current fire behavior is smoldering with some creeping in the moss, with occasional single-tree torching in black spruce.

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

7-13-19 Map of the Rainbow 2 Fire

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