Shovel Creek Fire July 15, 2019 8am Update: Progress Continues with Multiple-Day Mop-up Effort

Watch videos and fire footage at the Shovel Creek Fire YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2L4Qc7M

Current Statistics:

Size: 23,948 acres      Containment: 40%       Personnel: 524       Start Date: June 21, 2019       Cause: Lighting

Mop up continues along the fires edge.
Photo Credit:PNW2/Alaska Department of Forestry DNR/BLM Alaska Fire Service

Crews were able to finish removing hoses, sprinklers, and other structure protection equipment from neighborhoods south of Murphy Dome road on Sunday, thanks to the multiple-day effort to mop-up along the southern edge of the Shovel Creek Fire.  That equipment can now be refurbished, and made available to other communities threatened by wildfires.  Also on Sunday, firefighters patrolling secured line along the northeast corner of the fire near the Chatanika river report the line is holding, and that they’ve been able to release the hotshot crew that had been working to improve the line in that area.  Structure protection equipment remains in place north of the Chatanika, if needed.

Today, the weather forecast calls for warmer and dryer conditions, but firefighting efforts are expected to be aided by dampness remaining from last week’s rain. Firefighters will continue the process of patrolling sections of the fire with containment line, while mop-up crews work in sections of the fire along the southern edge, looking to extinguish any hot spots and improve the fire line.

This evening at 6PM, Command of the Shovel Creek Fire will be transitioned from the Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 2 to Rocky Mountain Team 6, led by Incident Commander Bob Fry.  Members of both teams have been working to ensure a smooth transition, with a shared goal of safely and successfully achieving a controlled fire perimeter.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has maintained the same evacuation levels established on Friday. The neighborhoods of the Chatanika River corridor, Drouin, Hardluck, Moose Mountain, Coyote Jones, Hattie Creek, Lincoln Creek, Murphy, and Vancouver neighborhoods are no longer in an evacuation zone.


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

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

Air quality has improved in recent days, but fires in other parts of our region may continue to be the source of smoke, which may be unhealthy for sensitive populations. 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

RESOURCES: 3 hotshot crews, 6 Type 2 handcrews, 15 engines, 4 dozers, 7 helicopters, and 9 water tenders

WEATHER:  The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70’s, with slightly lower humidity and light winds. A mixture of smoke and fog is expected to hang in the valley around the fire area this morning, followed by partly cloudy skies, with a 10% chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon.   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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