Four new fires in Tanana Zone

Map of Tanana Zone Fires 7/19/19

For PDF version of this map, CLICK HERE.
Map of Tanana Zone Fires 7/19/19
For PDF version of this map, CLICK HERE.

Four new lightning-caused fires were reported in the Tanana Zone on Thursday with the largest estimated at 225 acres. Two of the new fires are staffed with crews this morning, and overall five of the 26 actively burning fires have crews assigned. 

Isolated thunderstorms are expected along the eastern edge of the Tanana Zone today accompanied by breezy westerly winds north of the Yukon River. Of the 1.67 million acres burned statewide this year, 262,449 acres have burned in the Tanana Zone from a total of 36 fires. 

Increases in fire activity will be accompanied by more smoke. The Alaska Department of Conservation advises people with respiratory illness or heart disease, the elderly and children, to avoid exposure to smoke. When in areas of smoke, avoid outdoor activities or physical exertion.

The five staffed fires are updated below:

Little Creek Fire (#616) – 133 acres, 16 personnel, started on July 18

Lightning ignited the Little Creek Fire which has grown to an estimated 200 acres. Two loads of smokejumpers are fighting the fire and expect several days of work ahead through thickets of old, wind-blown spruce. As of this morning, smokejumpers have put in saw line around nearly a third of the fire. Boggy, swampy conditions make line construction a difficult process. The main focus is securing the western edge spruce is the predominate fuel. The fire appears to be holding along Big Creek. Two hotshot crews and a helicopter have been ordered, along with nearly three miles of hose. A flight is planned for today to determine the fire perimeter.  

Boney Creek Fire (#619) – 45 acres, 8 personnel, started on July 18

The Boney Creek Fire was started by lightning and is burning about 10 miles southwest of the village of Tanana and about 2 miles southeast of the nearest allotments. Smokejumpers are working to keep the fire south of Boney Creek to prevent ignition of a large expanse of old spruce which will likely carry the fire quickly. The spruce would also produce significant amounts of smoke which would be carried by the wind along the Yukon River and possibly south to Fairbanks.

Grouse Creek (#485) – 14,000 acres, 95 personnel, started on July 10 [includes Twin Ponds (#486) and Garnet Creek Fire (#576, 2000 acres, started 7/15)]

The Grouse Creek and Twin Pond fires are burning about 6 miles northeast of Rampart. Growing to roughly 14,000 acres, the fire has pushed through the tundra driven by 5-10 mph winds. Crews continue to assess and protect structures and allotments at fish camp and Alfred’s cabin. A perimeter flight is planned for today around Grouse Creek.

The Garnet Creek Fire, 12 miles southwest of Rampart, has burned 2,000 acres and is being monitored by the incident management team stationed at Rampart. Increased fire activity, driven by the wind, moved the fire east on Thursday toward a sparser fuel component. Smoke will be visible throughout the Rampart area and likely settle in low lying drainages and along the Yukon River.

Bergman Creek Fire (#312) – 47,000 acres, 54 personnel, started on July 21

Firefighters on the lightning caused Bergman Creek Fire, located 28 miles southwest of Allakaket, reported cold and windy conditions this morning with no precipitation during the last 24 hours. The fire remains 2 to 3 miles from the nearest allotment. The north and northwest sides of the fire are holding in hardwood stands. 

Foraker Fire (#389) – 46,294 acres, 5 personnel, started on June 26

The Foraker Fire is located in Denali National Park and was started by lightning. It is estimated at 46,294 acres and is burning 18 miles west of Kantishna. The north side of the fire received a fair amount of precipitation and fire activity has decreased significantly. Firefighters will continue backhauling pumps, hose and sprinklers from the Birch Creek cabin area. 

Multiple sources of information regarding 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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