More fires up North

The fire season seems to be moving north. Of the 26 new fires reported over the past two days, ten were above the Arctic Circle, two of which were in the Tanana Zone. Isolated thunderstorms are expected in the central and eastern interior today, with high temperatures reaching the low 80s in the Yukon Flats area.

A map of fires in the Tanana Zone on July 16, 2019.
A map of fires in the Tanana Zone on July 16, 2019. A PDF of this map is available HERE.


Fifteen new fires were reported state-wide on Monday, one is in the Tanana Zone. Twenty-three fires are actively burning in the zone today, with a total of 30 fires reported this year.

Below are descriptions of the five staffed fires within the Tanana Zone. (Grouse Creek and Twin Ponds are being managed as one fire.):

South Base (#555) – 18 acres, 8 firefighters

Eight smokejumpers worked hard Monday to achieve 60 percent containment on the South Base Fire, which is burning about 4 miles southeast of Bettles. A thunderstorm moved around the fire Monday but didn’t deliver any rain. Outflow winds from the passing storm tested the containment lines, which held. The northern edge of the fire continued to hold heat Monday because it was burning in deep peat moss. Firefighters report good moisture recovery overnight, waking up today to find dew on the foliage. They will continue to find and extinguish hotspots with the goal of having the fire contained and controlled by end of shift today.

Grouse Creek (#485) and Twin Ponds (#486) – estimated 7,750 acres, 94 firefighters

Ninety-five people are assigned to the Grouse Creek and Twin Pond fires, which are burning about 6 miles northeast of Rampart. The two fires have burned together and are estimated at 7,750 acres combined. Air Attack resources reported the fire is not as active as it has been in previous days. Crews will work along an adjacent 2-track road to improve protection of the Rampart airstrip. The east and southeast flanks of the fire are “chunking away” in Alder Creek. The fire has shown very little growth on the north and west sides. Structure assessment and protection around the village of Rampart is complete and is continuing on the north edge of the fire and at the nearby mine. The Incident Management Team is finalizing an evacuation plan, should an evacuation become necessary, and the structure protection plan. A community meeting about the fire is set for 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The new Garnet Fire (#576) is roughly 12 miles southwest of Rampart and will be monitored by Grouse Creek fire personnel.

The Garnet Creek Fire (#576) as seen from the air on Monday, July 15, 2019, was burning about 12 miles southwest of Rampart, Alaska. The fire was started by lightning.
The Garnet Creek Fire (#576) as seen from the air on Monday, July 15, 2019, was burning about 12 miles southwest of Rampart, Alaska. The fire was started by lightning.

Bergman Creek Fire (#312) – 45,000 acres, 61 firefighters

The Bergman Creek Fire, located 28 miles southwest of Allakaket, experienced clear weather Monday. The fire was very quiet, though there was some torching toward the south end. The fire was slowly backing along the northern perimeter. The Ohio and Lewis and Clark crews worked near the Arctic City historic site to establish hoselines around allotments and firefighters contacted local landowners for more information about cabins and other sites near Lake Todatonten. The helicopter assigned to the fire is available to transport people, equipment or drop buckets of water on fire. It may also be used for initial attack duty on any new fire starts in the northern portion of the Tanana Zone.

Lloyd Mountain Fire (#361) – 32,744 acres, 22 firefighters

Firefighters at the Lloyd Mountain Fire, located on the east side of the Cosna River and 45 miles southwest of Manley Hot Springs, reported that hard rain was falling on the fire at about 7 p.m. Monday evening. Overall, they said, the fire has experienced sporadic light showers over the last few days. Incident Commander Ryan Cochran reported that the fire exhibited no change from the previous days, with isolated smokes mostly on the north and east sides. He said that the fire “won’t get up and move” without more dry weather. The perimeter has not changed since it rained heavily on July 12th, and the fire remains about 1 mile away from the nearest cabin.

Foraker Fire (#389) – 46,294 acres, 5 firefighters

The Foraker Fire is in Denali National Park, 22 miles west of Kantishna. The fire has experienced showers on and off throughout the past several days and fire activity has been low. It now has a Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) on each side of the fire to monitor weather.

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.

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