Rampart-Area fires perk up; other Tanana Zone fires rest

As the sky cleared above the Tanana Zone fires and aircraft were able to fly again, crews found their fires to have calmed considerably. Last night, however, fire activity northeast of Rampart picked up considerably for a few hours. Improving flight conditions on Saturday allowed resupply missions to the firefighters, who were relieved to receive fresh food and additional fire equipment. Scattered thunderstorms still rattled across the terrain, some with multiple lightning bolts and heavy rain. Nineteen fires are still burning in the Zone, and a total of 192,840 acres have burned this year.

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

Grouse Creek (#485), Twin Ponds (#486) — 2000 acres — 76 firefighters

The Grouse Creek Fire is six miles northeast of Rampart, along the Yukon River.  A community meeting was held in Rampart, and firefighters estimated a third of the local population attended.  The meeting was characterized as productive by those who attended. A helicopter was able to fly reconnaissance yesterday and reported the fire hadn’t moved in any particular direction, but last night the adjacent Twin Ponds fire made a two-mile run to the northeast between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Fire personnel stayed in the area of structures northeast of the fire to provide protection if needed. Light precipitation was reported with lightning and thunder in the area yesterday.  The Northern New Mexico Type 3 team assumed command of the fire this morning. The Lewis and Clark Type 1 Fire Use Module with nine firefighters along with a Type 2 helicopter with crew should arrive today to help with structure protection. Operations on Sunday will continue with point protection of structures and allotments. Scouting of the fire perimeter on the ground will begin today. The mining site south of Rampart will be scouted and assessed. 

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

The Bergman Creek Fire is midway between Allakaket and Hughes on the east side of the Koyukuk River near its confluence with the Kanuti River. Firefighters reported that about a ¼-inch of rain had fallen, but tapered off around 9 a.m. on Saturday, remaining dry through Saturday night. A number of thunderstorms tracked to the south of the fire during the afternoon. Preparations are in place to initiate burnout operations as fuel moisture increases. The Type 2 crew from Ohio was shuttled to the fire on Saturday, and plans call for the Lewis and Clark Hotshots to move in today. The Ohio crew was welcomed by a thunderstorm yielding strong winds, rain falling sideways, and lots of thunder during the night.  The air was clear this morning, however, with the best visibility to date. The fire was 30% active Saturday evening, but fire activity was limited to smoldering with a small smoke column in the southwest corner. Firefighters continue to prepare allotments and cabins along the Kanuti River and near Todatonten Lake.

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

The Lloyd Mountain Fire, ignited by lightning on June 23rd, is located 45 miles southwest of Manley Hot Springs on the east side of the Cosna River. Firefighters reported thunderstorms with abundant lightning and heavy rain in the evening on Saturday. Visibility due to smoke improved enough during the day that planes could fly to bring supplies and recon the fire, finding the fire had grown a bit on the north end. There were no visible flames. The west flank appeared to be cold out; one smoke was seen on the east side, but more smoke was seen in the north and northeast where the fire had been most recently active. The fire has burned to the boggy, swampy low area with multiple small lakes to the northeast, and further movement seems unlikely at this time. 

Foraker Fire (#389– 45,000 acres, 5 firefighters

The fire is in Denali National Park, 22 miles west of Kantishna.  Aircraft was grounded for the most part on Saturday due to low visibility, but today they were able to fly aerial reconnaissance over the fire.  The moisture and cooler temperatures helped to temper the activity on the north side of the fire, but the south side was surprisingly active with significant unmapped growth reported. The fire is in monitor status and is ½ mile from Slippery Creek. It appears that the 2.6 inches of rain recently reported at the nearby Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) never hit the ground on the south side of the fire.

Map of the Tanana Zone fires

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