Southwest Alaska Area Fire Update – Tuesday July 30, 2019

Firefighters working on lightning-caused fires in Southwest Alaska are finally getting a helping hand from cooler, wetter weather. Due to the moderating fire activity, fire managers are beginning the demobilization process and expect to start releasing crews over the next few days. There are currently 64 active fires in the Southwest Area, according to the Division of Forestry office in McGrath. No new fires were reported on Monday. Five fires remain staffed to protect the villages of Nikolai and Red Devil, the Donlin Mine, the Nixon Mine, and allotments and cabins along the Kuskokwim River.


The Medicine Creek Fire (#673) – (8 acres) was started by lightning on July 23, five miles northwest of Medfra. Firefighters continue to mop-up and grid the fire for any remaining hot spots and prepare for demobilizing all personnel and equipment at the end of the week. [17 personnel]


The Lost Jack Lake Fire (#662) – (47.5 acres), started by lightning on July 23, three miles north of Nikolai. The 10-person Mammoth Wildland Fire Module and the 20-person Southwest Area Crew #2 comprised of firefighters from Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay and Chevak reached their containment objectives on Tuesday and are planning to demobilize all personnel on Wednesday. [34 personnel]


The Smith Creek Fire (#534) – (70,173 acres), was started by lightning on July 12, one mile west of the Donlin Mine. Firefighters continue to secure 80 structures at the Donlin Mine facility by mopping up any remaining heat from successful firing operations. Managers of the mine have suspended operations and removed remaining personnel in order to accommodate firefighting operations. [11 personnel]


The McCally Creek Fire (#487) – (3,097 acres) was started by lightning on July 10 near the community of Red Devil. A reconnaissance flight yesterday observed few areas of smoke that have been determined non-threatening to the infrastructure. The Pioneer Peak Hotshots will be completing the saw line around a Native Allotment west of the Red Devil airstrip tomorrow and are planning to demobilize all personnel on Wednesday. [21 personnel]


The Hidden Creek Fire (#464) – (1,100 acres) was started by lightning on July 9, 20 miles northwest of Nikolai in the area of the Nixon Fork Gold Mine. The Southwest Area Crew #1 have completed structure protection objectives at the Nixon Fork Mine and will be released tomorrow. [12 personnel]

There are 60 fires currently in monitor status. Monitoring schedules are based on defined time frames, but are dependent on available resources, and weather conditions. To see the status of unstaffed fires, go to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center’s Situation Report.


The Southwest Area Forestry office in McGrath appreciates reports from the public regarding fire activity and will be conducting detection flights to look for other new fires in the area. To report new fires in the Southwest Area, call 907524-3366 (FIRE LINE). For more information call Public Information Officer, Sarah Saarloos at 907-863-2009.

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