Rain moderates fire activity in Bristol Bay region

The first of two weather fronts expected in Southwest Alaska has arrived, bringing rain to the fires burning near King Salmon, Levelock and New Stuyahok. The second wave, forecast for Sunday, is expected to bring even heavier rains to the drought-stricken area. The rains will not produce the season-ending rains needed but should temporarily moderate fire activity. The forecast says to expect a return to a dry-weather pattern next week

No smokes were found on the Pauls Creek Fire (#777) on Thursday as firefighters completed their final grid of the 25-acre fire. Personnel from the fire northwest of King Salmon may be reassigned to other fires in the area.

Firefighters were able to mop up a 15-foot wide perimeter around the Koklong Creek Fire (#776) southwest of Ekwok while waiting for gas-powered water pumps to be delivered on Thursday. With the arrival of replacement pumps, crews plan today to gain another 50 feet in width around the 30-acre fire. No growth has been reported on this fire for several days.

Native allotments south of the Levelock Fire (#752) are being assessed for point protection measures as the fire spreads in their direction. A water-dropping helicopter slowed the fire’s advance Thursday allowing smokejumpers to determine what supplies will be needed to start point protection. Crews remain in Levelock to be available for allotment protection and will continue rehabilitating dozer lines around the village and back hauling excessive equipment. The fire has grown to an estimated 7,913 acres.

A change in the wind direction ahead of the approaching weather front helped firefighters Thursday on the Ethel Creek Fire (#516) burning 53 miles northwest of Nondalton. The fire is no longer being pushed toward personnel as they construct firelines around Native allotments. The fire remains at an estimated 31,000 acres.

Smokejumpers, assisted by six water-scooping aircraft Thursday, completed their control line by going direct along the western edge of the Pete Andrews Creek Fire (#457) burning north of Lake Iliamna. Firefighters today will continue with allotment protection measures. The fire is estimated to be 5,641 acres.

Satellite-based detection equipment shows a decrease in fire activity on the Lower Klutuk Fire (#770) today as rain moves over the area. The estimated 106-acre fire 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.

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