Rain showers moved over the Deshka Landing Fire yesterday bringing gusty southerly winds. With suppression activities in place and damp weather conditions, fire behavior has remained minimal but isolated sources of heat persist. Firefighters continued to methodically search out and extinguish the fire burning under the surface in the southern portion of the fire. Crews continue patrolling and monitoring the northern half of the perimeter. The precipitation has been long awaited for the dry drought stricken fuels. Consumption of these fuels will now reduce and minimize the chance of propagating fire, but the change in weather brings new challenges.
Initial challenges on the Deshka Landing Fire included inaccessibility, forcing crews to hike in and camp away from roads. Equipment, food, and water had to be flown into remote locations. Now with wet ground, crews face a greater potential for slips, trips and falls. Exposed tree roots and slippery wet ashes make footing unstable. Breezes associated with the showers have increased the danger of falling trees. The reoccurring showers make it difficult for the firefighters to stay dry and hypothermia is a new concern.
Every day during morning briefings, fire managers remind personnel that fatigue and over exertion throughout the duration of the incident can lead to injury. Setting a reasonable work pace is critical in successfully completing an assignment.
The 20-person Gannett Glacier fire crew from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry in Palmer, has successfully completed their assignment on the Deshka Landing Fire. Crew members left the fire yesterday. It has been a busy summer for them. Shortly after their team training in April they were dispatched to their first fire and have been busy ever since. They have worked hard on several fires in Alaska and are ready for a break. But spirits are high and they are hoping for another assignment either here in Alaska or in the lower forty-eight. (Gannett Glacier Fire Crew video – https://youtu.be/y1N2lYHswvM)
Emergency Burning Restrictions: The Alaska wildfire season is still in affect and the emergency burn order closure for both the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna Borough remains in place. For more information go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/.
Aircraft Safety: Private aircraft pilots are reminded that a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) over the Deshka Landing Fire is still in effect from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. everyday. Specific information about the TFR can be found at: https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_5299.html. Air operations personnel are urging private pilots to contact them if there is a need to enter or leave the TFR.
Closures: Portions of Game Management Unit 14A and State lands in the area remain closed to public access. The hunting public is respecting the recent closures around the fire area and firefighters continue to work safely without incident. Details on the hunting closure can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/6532/50528/.
A portion of the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is still closed to recreation and hunting to avoid safety issues with firefighters working in the area. Last Tuesday, the closure order was modified to open the eastern portion of the Recreation Area. Details are located at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/6532/50528. Residents of the Red Shirt Lake community and other areas surrounding the Deshka Landing Fire should remain diligent in their state of readiness.