Fires remain active in southwest Alaska as dry conditions persist

Prolonged dry periods have resulted in drought conditions that are continuing to make wildfires in the Bristol Bay region extremely resistant to extinguishment. A change from dry weather is forecast for this weekend with the first wave of showers expected Friday evening. The second front is forecast for Sunday and is expected to bring wide-spread wetting rains to the area.

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On Wednesday, six BLM Alaska Smokejumpers were deployed to protect a Native allotment in the area of the Pete Andrews Creek Fire (#457) burning about 5 miles north of Lake Iliamna. The fire, started July 8, has grown to an estimated 5,641 acres and is spreading south. Fire Boss water-scooping aircraft were dispatched to assist the jumpers. Today, firefighters will continue constructing saw line around the allotment and improving it with pumps and hose lays.

Smokejumpers on the Pauls Creek Fire (#777) are making their final checks for hot spots today after completing control lines around the fire. The 25-acre fire, about 6 miles northwest of King Salmon, has been called contained. People may continue to see smoke from interior portions of the fire as the very dry peat moss continues to burn.

Firefighters on the Koklong Creek Fire (#776), about 15 miles southwest of Ekwok, are making good progress building fireline around the 52-acre fire despite a broken water pump. Smokejumpers used portable water backpacks with hand sprayers to continue their mop up efforts.

Fire crews continue to mop up 300 feet in along the 6,863-acre Levelock Fire’s (#752) edge around the village and airstrip. A reconnaissance flight with an infrared detection camera has been requested to check for areas of heat that may threaten the community. Other portions of the fire will be left to progress naturally.

Smokejumpers on the 31,000-acre Ethel Creek Fire (#516) continue to construct saw line around Native allotment boundaries. Aerial reconnaissance of the fire burning 53 miles northwest of Nondalton reports active burning in tundra with areas of torching in heavy fuels. Point protection measures will continue for additional allotments.

The Lower Klutuk Fire (#770) has grown to more than 100 acres and remains in monitor status. The lightning-caused fire was reported Friday, Aug. 23, and is about 10 miles southeast of New Stuyahok and over 15 miles northwest of Levelock. The Alaska Division of Forestry will continue aerial surveillance of the fire’s spread.

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