Drought conditions leaving southwest Alaska fires resistant to control

The Bristol Bay area is experiencing severe drought conditions this summer. National Weather Service data shows King Salmon is more than 3 inches below their normal precipitation for June, July and August. Firefighters working on fires in the area are reporting the dry conditions are making fires extremely resistant to control. Water scooping Fire Boss aircraft have spent the past two days making water drops to support firefighting efforts on the Pauls Creek Fire (#777) outside of King Salmon and Koklong Creek Fire (#776) near Ekwok.

Smokejumpers on the Pauls Creek Fire have completed a fireline with pumps and hose lay around the 25-acre fire. Their mop-up efforts have secured a 100-foot wide perimeter in most areas. They will continue today increasing width, while improving and securing other firelines. Personnel report the fire is burning deep in the dry peat moss and it is holding considerable heat on the northeast and northwest edges of the fire.

Jumpers were able to get around the 30-acre Koklong Creek Fire on Monday with the help of the Fire Bosses. Mop up will continue as they work to increase the width of their perimeter.

Fire personnel on the 6,863 acre Levelock Fire (#752) continue to mop up 100 feet in along the airport road and have been able to reach 300 feet in some areas. Today, crews will continue to improve firelines and use dozers to break down berms created during suppression efforts.

Smokejumpers spent Tuesday identifying Native allotments threatened by the Ethel Creek Fire (#516) burning 53 miles northwest of Nondalton. Point protection measures will be used to protect allotments affected by the 18,126-a cre fire.

Rain is forecast for the area beginning Friday evening as a change in the current dry-weather pattern is expected.

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