Gusty northwest winds stirred up fire activity on the Rainbow 2 Fire northwest of Delta Junction on Saturday, as the fire was pushed into interior pockets of unburnt black spruce on the east side.
The increased fire activity produced a large smoke column visible from Delta Junction and the Richardson Clearwater community. However, fire managers said the winds helped to “clean up” several patches of unburnt fuels in the interior of the fire and should provide a more secure containment line on the northeastern edge of the fire closest to the Richardson Clearwater community, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The fire is now estimated in the neighborhood of 15,000 acres, with an anticipated 1,000 acres of new growth from yesterday’s burning. An infrared flight is scheduled today to better map the fire, as well as to gauge fire behavior on different parts of the fire.
Firefighters in two divisions closest to the Richardson Clearwater community continue to solidify and lengthen the containment line on the northeast section of the fire separating the fire from the community. In Division A, firefighters are checking for spot fires on a ridge between the fire and the community while moving east toward Division Z. Today they will be working on putting in an indirect line to connect the two divisions and to provide an anchor point for firing operations to secure that part of the line. Crews in Division Z are working west along the containment line, searching for hot spots and mopping up as they go.
The Rainbow 2 Fire was started by lightning on June 29 and has not shown any growth since it made a 3-mile wind-driven run to the north on July 11. The fire moved within one-quarter mile from the nearest cabins on Clear Creek but remains on the south side of Clear Creek. There are currently 80 personnel assigned to the fire.