Winds are expected to challenge Caribou Lake and North Fork fires again today

The Caribou Lake Fire (#754) had low to moderate fire behavior on Wednesday with most of the activity on the western portion and along dozer lines on the ridge tops of Boxcar Hills. Firelines constructed by crews were challenged yesterday by east winds. Firefighters supported by water-scooping Fire Bosses and four retardant tankers caught areas where the fire crossed their lines on the western side. The fire is 10 percent contained and estimated to be nearly 800 acres.

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Today, BLM Alaska Smokejumpers, Redding Hotshots and members of the Kachemak Emergency Services Area will work with dozers to construct line around yesterday’s slop-overs. There are no evacuation notices in effect for the residences around Long or Caribou lakes. Structure protection measures are being utilized for the homes, cabins and secondary structures around the fire. There are no immediate threats to nearby structures and aerial support will once again be available to firefighters on the ground.

A Fire Boss makes a water drop on the edge of the Caribou Lake Fire on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Two of the water-scooping aircraft and four retardant tankers supported firefighters on the ground as they caught slop-overs cause by east winds. Alaska Division of Forestry/Photo courtesy Jeff Sinn

The North Fork Fire (#751) also had moderate fire activity yesterday, mainly in the interior of the fire where unburned pockets of trees continue to burn. Firefighters made very good progress on mop-up along the fire’s edge. Mitigating snags and other hazardous trees is being done for the safety of the firefighters as they widen the perimeter to 50 feet. The fire remains at 59 acres and containment is 50 percent. Water tenders from Anchor Point Fire and Homer Volunteer Fire departments are assisting Alaska’s Yukon Type 2 Initial Attack Crew and Washington’s Zigzag Hotshots.

A low-pressure trough approaching from the north will bring little precipitation to the fires but gusty and erratic winds will again challenge containment lines. Firefighters on both fires will continue to hold the lines they have constructed and improve their perimeters.

Because of the forecast winds, residents living along North Fork Road, north of the fire and in communities along the Diamond Ridge Road to the south, remain on a Level 1 “Ready” notice. A “Ready” alert is NOT a notice to leave. This means that people must be ready for potential evacuation. This includes assisting family members with special needs, arrange to move mobile property (boats, trailers, ATV), and prepare pets or livestock.

An aerial photograph shows the Caribou Lake Fire on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Jay Walter/Alaska Division of Forestry

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