Temps moderate today, 30 mph wind gusts expected

Temperatures are expected to moderate slightly today into the 70s in the Upper Yukon Zone, although wind gusts related to pressure changes are expected to cause wind gusts in the 20-30 mph range. Strong winds from the southwest can drive fire behavior and could disrupt plans for burnout operations.

Members of the BLM's 2019 Women's Fire Crew pose for a photo at BLM Alaska Fire Service at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, on July 17, 2019, before heading to the Hadweenzic River Fire. The members of the 2019 crew are: Shelby Descamps, Leah Katz, Patty Derner, Hannah Zamorski, Tess Jarden, Lauren Formiller, Toni Hardy and Alex Perez. CREDIT: BLM Alaska Fire Service
Members of the BLM’s 2019 Women’s Fire Crew are pictured at BLM Alaska Fire Service at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, on July 17, 2019, before heading to the Hadweenzic River Fire. The members of the 2019 crew are: Shelby Descamps, Leah Katz, Patty Derner, Hannah Zamorski, Tess Jarden, Lauren Formiller, Toni Hardy and Alex Perez.
CREDIT: BLM Alaska Fire Service

Fuels remain highly flammable and are easily influenced by wind and temperatures that, while not as hot as earlier this week, are still warm enough for fuels to easily burn. Relative humidity is also moderating to upper 30’s to 40s, which may assist in firefighting efforts. The Upper Yukon Zone has 43 active fires, and nine staffed fires, with no new starts yesterday. 

Information on the Chalkyitsik complex fires will be listed in a separate update. Here is a summary of some of the more significant fires burning in the Yukon Flats and surrounding areas:

Hadweenzic River Fire (#337) – 54,300 acres, 94 personnel

It was warm and windy yesterday, with fire moving through white spruce on the east side of the fire. Fire pushed through black spruce on the west side, producing a strong smoke column later in the day. Crews are continuing to work on indirect line to tie in with a wet slough area, which will act as a barrier against fire progression. Fire is burning about 6½ miles northeast of Nahshii Bible Camp, and about 19 miles west of Fort Yukon. The communications team set up another repeater in the area to allow crews to talk to each other, a critical need during high fire activity.

A Temporary Flight Restriction has been placed over the Hadweenzic and Tony Slough fires. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for more information on the TFR.

The 2019 BLM Women’s Fire Crew is assigned to the Hadweenzic River Fire. Watch a video about the crew HERE and read more about them HERE.

Tony Slough Fire (#493) – 1,526 acres, 57 personnel

Crews were unable to burn around Camp Nahshii yesterday due to windy conditions. With the fire moving toward the Bible camp, firefighters will once again try to burn today to build a fuel break around the camp and its structures. There are still people at the Bible camp and they have an evacuation plan in place. The fire is less than 2 miles from Camp Nahshii and 8 miles northeast of the village of Beaver. A National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) will establish an area command Sunday over several fires in the Upper Yukon area.

A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place for the Hadweenzic and Tony Slough fires. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for more information on the TFR.

Note: Due to the technical issues at AICC, a map of the Upper Yukon area for today is not available. There were no new fires in the areas yesterday. 
Map of fires in the Upper Yukon Zone for Friday, July 19, 2019. For a pdf version of the map, click here.
Note: Due to the technical issues at AICC, a map of the Upper Yukon area for today is not available. There were no new fires in the areas yesterday.
Map of fires in the Upper Yukon Zone for Friday, July 19, 2019. For a pdf version of the map, click here.

Chandalar River Fire (#349) – 11,000 acres, 87 personnel

Wind gusts of up to 20 mph yesterday stopped firefighters from carrying out the rest of a planned burnout operation designed to more fully protect allotments north of the fire perimeter. All protections are in place around the allotments. Crews put out several small spot fires yesterday that popped up due to the winds. The same southwest winds are predicted today, which will prevent the continuation of the planned burnout until wind and fuel conditions change. The fire is still about 1 mile southwest of Venetie, with the Chandalar River serving as a natural barrier between the fire and the village.

East Fork Chandalar Fire (#572) – 160 acres, 48 personnel

The fire has burned 160 acres and is 65 percent contained. Hose lines are in place around the fire. Firefighters continue work their way in at least 20 feet in from the fire’s edge to find and put out hotspots. Eight smokejumpers left the fire for reassignment. The fire is still 25 miles northwest of Venetie.

Crater Creek (#585) – 4 acres, 8 personnel

The fire has not grown in size since smokejumpers began fighting it Tuesday. It continues to burn hot inside the fire perimeter due to heavy duff and “dead and down” fuels there. Smokejumpers continue to identify and extinguish hotspots today.

Information on wildfire smoke predictions can be found at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks website located at http://smoke.alaska.edu/.

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (208) 274-3316 or email 2019.AFS.FIRES@gmail.com.

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