Firefighters have nearly completed a preliminary containment line around the 1,041-acre perimeter of the Kobe Fire south of the Denali Borough community of Anderson on Sunday.
The containment line will be a combination of dozer line and saw line cut by firefighters with chainsaws. It should be complete by the end of shift today. Firefighters are plumbing that line with hose and pumps to provide a water supply to extinguish hot spots found along the fire’s edge.
Helicopter water drops were used to extinguish a flare up on one section of uncompleted line on Sunday. Firefighters were able to suppress that area of heat with the help of air support. There are still patches of unburned fuel in the interior of the fire that occasionally catch fire and torch trees, producing visible smoke. Heavy equipment is being used to dismantle smoldering berm piles in the interior of the fire that were created when fields were cleared for agricultural purposes.
The Kobe Fire started Thursday evening and grew rapidly, forcing the evacuation of two remote subdivisions west of the Parks Highway near Mile 275, about 85 miles south of Fairbanks. Rain moved into the area late Thursday night and Friday, calming fire behavior and allowing firefighters to take a stand to halt the spread of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
There was minimal fire growth on Sunday and in fact the fire shrunk by almost 100 acres due to more accurate mapping, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry. Fire behavior on Sunday consisted primarily of smoldering with some intermittent tree torching in the interior of the fire in pockets of unburned fuel.
A “Level 1: Ready” evacuation notice remains in effect for the Kobe Ag and Anderson subdivisions closest to the fire. A “Level 1: Ready” notice means that people should be aware there is a threat in the area and to begin assembling needed items for a potential evacuation.
The fire transitioned to Type 3 organization on Monday. There are 155 personnel assigned to the fire. One crew was moved off the fire on Sunday to respond to a new fire in the Fairbanks area but two more crews are scheduled to arrive at the fire today. As other crews time out in the next few days, they will be replaced by crews being released from other nearby fires.