Cornucopia Complex Update for July 26

Smoke and increased humidity on the Cornucopia Complex, north of Beaver, Alaska, prevented firefighters from carrying out any of the planned burnouts yesterday. Crews continue to improve lines they have put in place to protect structures and allotments on all staffed fires in the complex. Wind speed and direction, along with fuel moistures are key factors in determining when a burnout will happen.

Members of the Union Hotshots from La Grande, Oregon, make a water crossing while fighting the Chandalar River Fire near Venetie, Alaska. CREDIT: Union Hotshots
Members of the Union Hotshots from La Grande, Oregon, make a water crossing while fighting the Chandalar River Fire near Venetie, Alaska. CREDIT: Union Hotshots

Today, the weather forecast calls for isolated rain showers in the morning, with scattered rain and thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. The high is predicted to be 73 with humidity at 45 percent. If that forecast proves true, the humidity would likely be too high for the planned burnouts.

Cornucopia Complex map for July 26
Cornucopia Complex map for July 26
For a PDF of this map, click HERE.

Winds today are forecast to be 5 to 10 mph out of the northeast in the morning, shifting to the southeast in the afternoon, with gusts up to 15 mph. The wind shift in the afternoon will likely bring smoke back into the area.

Hadweenzic River Fire (#337) – 60,856 acres, 0% contained, 130 personnel

No firing operations took place yesterday due to unfavorable weather and wind conditions. When conditions are right, the plan is to finish the burn all the way around the allotments in the next few days. 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. Firefighters are looking for opportunities to burnout from the indirect line back toward the main fire as soon as conditions permit.

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

This fire is considered part of the west side of the Hadweenzic Fire. Crews continue to hold and improve line that has been put in place to protect the Bible camp. A storm moved over the area late Wednesday night with about 1,700 lightning strikes, causing one spot fire near the camp. Firefighters worked into the early morning hours yesterday to contain the spot fire to 3 acres.

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.

Firefighters have cleared vegetation from wide swath of forest on the northern edge of the Chandalar River Fire in preparation for a burnout operation that is intended to protect allotments in the area. CREDIT: Union Hotshots
Firefighters have cleared vegetation from wide swath of forest on the northern edge of the Chandalar River Fire in preparation for a burnout that is intended to protect allotments in the area. CREDIT: Union Hotshots

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

Crews on the Chandalar River Fire are ready to take advantage of the first opportunity to conduct a burnout operation along the north side of the fire. Those conditions are not expected today. NIMO Operations Section Chief Russ Long described the 6 miles of saw line crews have built to protect allotments over the past several weeks as “an amazing piece of human effort.”

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

The fire is fully contained. All crews have been pulled off this fire and it is in monitor status. This is the last update for this fire, barring any significant changes in activity.

Other monitored fires

About 7 fires in the Cornucopia Complex are in monitor status. Fire managers are still trying to fly over several unstaffed fires north and west of the Chandalar River Fire to assess any potential threat to a remote cemetery and at least one allotment. They could not fly over the fires yesterday due to smoke that was “as thick as pea soup.” Smoke is expected to hang around the area again today. A recon flight of these fires may be possible Saturday, when the forecast calls for wind out of the north.

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 this update, click HERE.

For a PDF of the Chandalar River Fire map, click HERE.

For a PDF of the Hadweenzic River Fire (East) map, click HERE.

For a PDF of the Hadweenzic River Fire (West) map, click HERE.

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