Crews working on the #HessCreekFire finished installing a 1-mile long fuel break parallel to the Elliott Highway Thursday. The finished product resulted in a 30-foot-wide removal of black spruce and shrub, which will reduce the amount of burnable vegetation along the highway. This fuelbreak, along with the one constructed up the Cleary Creek drainage, will create an optimum point to initiate firing operations should temperatures and fire activity increase.
Fire managers flew the fire area Thursday and mapped the fire at 173,467 acres, a 3,000-acre increase from July 14. Most of the growth occurred on the north end in the black spruce patches. Prime weather conditions allowed the Air National Guard to complete its Distributed Real-Time Infrared (DRTI) mission, using a combination of manned aircraft and ground technicians. The group reported seeing very little heat along the Elliott Highway.
The fire received moisture from afternoon thunderstorms that should temporarily increase fuel moistures and prevent dramatic fire spread. However, vegetation on the tundra responds quickly to environmental conditions. The drier weather and warmer temperatures expected in a few days could easily dry out the finer fuels such as tundra.
The team is carefully monitoring weather conditions and fuel behavior to prepare for the fire’s potential movement. Firefighters continue to make plans on how to engage the fire safely and protect the highway and structures in the community of Livengood should the need arise.
Fire Behavior and Weather: Cooler weather conditions are expected this weekend, bringing temperatures in the mid-60s. Relative humidity should increase to the high to mid-60s. Winds are expected from the south ranging between 6-12 mph with gusts up to 18 mph. A pressure system is anticipated to move in early next week, resulting in a drying and warming trend.
Public Awareness: For current road conditions, go to the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities’ 511.alaska.gov website. Stay up-to-date on current air quality information by visiting https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/Alaska.
Start Date: June 21, 2019
Location: Ignition approximately 12 miles northeast of Livengoood, AK
Percent Contained: 0%