Shovel Creek Fire July 18, 2019 8am Update: Thunderstorm Brings Moisture to the Fire Area; Community Meeting Tonight

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

Current Statistics:

Size: 21,298 acres  Containment: 45%  Personnel: 532

Start Date: June 21, 2019       Cause: Lightning

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy received an operational briefing on the Shovel Creek Fire yesterday while visiting with firefighters at Murphy Dome. After the briefing the governor expressed his support, saying, “Stay safe, and I want to thank all of you. The people of Alaska really appreciate the work you are doing.”

Helipad pad on Murphy Dome
Photo Credit:Northern Rockies Team 6/ Alaska Division of Forestry DNR/ BLM Alaska Fire Service

A late afternoon thunderstorm forced the cancellation of the governor’s planned aerial tour of the Shovel Creek fire, but it did bring some moisture to parts of the fire area. The eastern section of the fire received up to a quarter-inch of rain, while less rain fell on the western section. Today, more scattered showers are possible in the afternoon.

Aerial reconnaissance yesterday showed moderate fire activity and a small amount of torching in the center part of the fire’s northern section. Higher humidity levels are expected to help limit fire growth in that area over the next few days.

Firefighters working to secure the eastern line north of the Perfect Perch neighborhood made significant progress yesterday, and will continue their mop-up efforts today. Other crews will work along the southern line, near the Martin subdivision. On the western edge, two hot shot crews and an excavator continue efforts to secure the line.

Shovel Creek Fire Map – July 18, 2019

Northern Rockies Team 6 will host a community meeting at the Ken Kunkle Community Center (2645 Goldstream Road, Fairbanks AK) tonight at 6:00 p.m. Shovel Creek Fire personnel and guest speakers will provide the current situation, fire behavior update, weather forecast and fire line repair.  A question and answer session will follow the meeting which will also be streamed live at: https://www.facebook.com/FNSBEmergencyOperations.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has maintained the same evacuation levels established on Friday, July 15. 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 1:00 pm on July 12, 2019:

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

For people negatively affected by smoke, 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

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy receiving an incident briefing from Shovel Creek Operations Chief Fred Thompson
Photo Credit:Northern Rockies Team 6/ Alaska Division of Forestry DNR/ BLM Alaska Fire Service

RESOURCES: 2 hotshot crews, 8 Type 2 hand crews, 13 engines, 3 dozers, 6 helicopters, and 6 water tenders

WEATHER:  The forecast calls for another partly cloudy day with temperatures in the 70’s and humidity levels in the 50-55% range.  Winds are expected to shift more westerly late in the day, with isolated thunderstorms possible. 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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