Deshka Landing Fire Update, September 4

Firefighters continue their work on the Deshka Landing Fire. The fire is 95 percent contained and remains at 1,318 acres. Although fire activity has diminished with recent weather, fire personnel and aircraft are still operating in several areas where the fire smolders and slowly burns.

Overall safety of fire personnel is a concern, not only from fire damaged trees, but numerous ash pits. Ash pits develop when duff layers and roots systems burn and the ground surface may look undamaged. Firefighters have experienced burns from the ash pits on both the Deshka Landing and McKinley Fires, when stepping onto these thin crusts of surface dirt and falling into the still burning material underneath. Most recently, a firefighter was transported to the hospital with minor burns after stepping into an ash pit.

Today’s major focus on the Deshka Landing Fire is in the use of aircraft moving excessive equipment and supplies out of the fire areas. Helicopters are sling loading pumps and hoses, saw kits, ATVs and other equipment no longer in use. The use of helicopters has been essential to the management and containment of this fire. 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. Fire managers have been concerned by the frequency of intrusions into the TFR. Air Attack Supervisor Dean Thornberry explains concerns (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEnEHV-ryQo). 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.

Work continues along the northern half of the fire, with crews monitoring and patrolling the area where mop-up operations are completed. Firefighters working on the southern boundary, are locating hotspots and extinguish any remaining heat mopping up within 300 feet from the fire’s edge. As we grow closer to full containment, demobilization of personnel in the field and overhead resources begins.

Emergency Burning Restrictions Lifted:  The emergency burn closure issued on August 21 on state, private and municipal lands in the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna Borough was rescinded at 8:00 a.m. this morning September 4. For more information go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/.

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.

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Alan Lawson – Incident Commander
Dave Leitch – Deputy Incident Commander
Fire Information: (907) 715-9205                   
Email:  deshkalandingfireinfo@gmail.com
Web: www.akfireinfo.com
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6532/
Facebook:  Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Acreage: 1,318              Containment:  95%           
Personnel:   191           Start Date: 08/17/2019

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