Cornucopia Complex Fire Update for July 25

Wind and smoke were the driving forces behind the Cornucopia Complex, north of Beaver, Alaska, on Wednesday. Wind is determining whether burnout operations in three areas will happen. Smoke is impacting the movement of firefighters and supplies, on and off the line.  

An overview map of the fires in the Cornucopia Complex for July 25, 2019.
An overview map of the fires in the Cornucopia Complex for July 25, 2019.
For a PDF of this map, click HERE.

East winds 5 to 15 mph, temperatures in the 80’s and humidity at 36 percent ensured every fire in the complex, including those in monitor status, stood up and became active yesterday. Today, the trend is predicted to continue, but dry thunderstorms and lightning are added into the mix.

Wind direction, which is critical to successful burnouts, is forecast to change every day, making it difficult to predict when firing can happen. The completion of these burnouts in the next few days is important if the complex is going to turn the corner in the next two weeks and de-escalate or continue for most of the summer.

Map of the east side of the Hadweenzic River Fire for July 25, 2019.
Map of the east side of the Hadweenzic River Fire for July 25, 2019.
For a PDF version of this map, click HERE.

Hadweenzic River Fire (#337) – 59,009 acres, 0% contained, 130 personnel

Mid-afternoon on the west end of the Hadweenzic Fire, the wind direction was right to start firing around the Bible camp and allotment to the south. That firing was successful and continued into the evening. The plan is to finish the burn all the way around the allotment in the next few days, if the conditions are right, and then begin putting out any residual hot spots. Fifty-six adults and campers remain at the camp. On the east end of the fire, the decision was made to follow an indirect strategy and look for opportunities to burnout from the indirect line back toward the main fire as soon as possible. This afternoon, winds from the northwest could make it possible to burn this area safely, further ensuring the protection of Fort Yukon.

Map of the west side of the Hadweenzic River Fire for July 25, 2019.
Map of the west side of the Hadweenzic River Fire for July 25, 2019. For a PDF of this fire, click HERE.

Tony Slough Fire (#493) – 7,961 acres, 0% contained, 48 personnel

This fire is considered part of the west end of the Hadweenzic Fire. There are crews working on the eastern end, closest to the Bible camp, continuing to burnout.

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

A map of the Chandalar River Fire for July 25, 2019.
A map of the Chandalar River Fire for July 25, 2019. For a PDF of this map, click HERE.

Chandalar River Fire (#349) – 11,162 acres, 0% contained, 131 personnel

Crews on the Chandalar River Fire are prepped and poised to take advantage of the first opportunity to conduct a burnout operation along the north side of the fire. Six miles of line have been prepared in anticipation of the burnout. Crews are awaiting the right wind conditions to start a planned firing operation intended to protect numerous allotments along the Chandalar River. A helicopter with aerial firing equipment conducted a test burn yesterday to see if wind, fuels and temperatures had lined up. The conditions were not favorable, so additional firing did not take place. Conditions are predicted to be right again today and, if possible, firing will continue.

East Fork Chandalar Fire (#572) – 190 acres, 100% contained, 30 personnel

This fire has been contained, however, adverse smoke conditions made flying the all crews off the fire a bit sporadic yesterday. One-and-a-half crews remained on the fire overnight and – air quality allowing – they will all be brought off today. The fire will be placed in monitor status.

Other monitored fires

About six of the fires in the Cornucopia Complex, including one new one, are in monitor status. The last few days of hot, dry weather, however, mean even these fires are active. Fire #601 west of the East Fork of the Chandalar River is moving west and is about 2.5 miles from an allotment. When smoke conditions allow, fire managers will fly over the fire and see what, if anything, needs to be done. Fire #653 is also active and nearing a remote cemetery. The cemetery has been prepped for fire in the past. Crews may be sent in again to reinforce that protection. Three other monitored fires were active and, while not immediately threatening anything, will be flown by fire managers as soon as possible to determine next steps.

There are multiple sources of information on smoke are located on the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Air Quality web page https://fire.ak.blm.gov/predsvcs/airquality.php.

For more information, contact the Cornucopia Complex Information Office by email: c.complex2019@gmail.com. We will have a phone number soon.

For a PDF of today’s update, click HERE.

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