This video from July 21 shows how the hard work completed by smokejumpers saved a cabin on a Native allotment on the Draanjik (Black) River from the Bearnose and Frozen Calf fires in the Chalkyitsik Complex. Subscribe to the Chalkyitsik Complex YouTube channel for instant notification of new fireline videos https://bit.ly/2K5TW6h.
Two smokejumpers set up sprinklers and a hose system on the cabin to wet down the surrounding area. Typically they’d burn out the vegetation surrounding the cabin site or allotment to give it a protective buffer. However, due to anticipated intense fire behavior, they were pulled from the area for safety concerns. Before they left, they turned on the sprinkler system, that combined with previous work wetting down the surrounding area, increased the humidity levels that ultimately kept the flames at bay as evidenced by the “green island” around the cabin.
Smokejumpers later redeployed after the bulk of the fire moved through the area and conditions were much safer. Some of the hose had burned up, but they secured the perimeter to ensure fire wouldn’t reach the cabin.
Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Native allotments are provided full protection as long as it does not endanger the safety of the firefighters or the public and as long as resources are available.
This video, supplied by one of the returning smokejumpers A.J. Gavin, shows how they were able to put protection measures in place to save the cabin even if they weren’t there.
The highest priority for all fire personnel is ensuring the protection of the Gwich’in village of Chalkyitsik. Fire crews continue work to secure the line in the vicinity of Ohtig Lake working north along indirect lines. Mop up activities continue between the Draanjik River and Chahalie Lake along with point protection of structures and when possible allotments within the river corridor. Fire crews will support initial attack in the Upper Yukon Zone as requested.
INFO: KZPA 900 AM radio in Fort Yukon is airing information updates about the Chalkyitsik Complex
Info Line: (907) 356-5511
Video credit: Smokejumper A.J. Gavin AKIMT/BLM AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry. Edit: PIO Kale Casey AKIMT
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Categories: AK Fire Info