(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – For the second day in a row, a late evening isolated storm cell moved over the Isom Creek Fire late Tuesday, bringing strong, erratic winds. Firefighting aircraft were forced to stop operations because of strong wind gusts. The easterly winds tested the constructed fireline along the two-track trail, locally know as Hovercraft Road, and firelines along the Dalton Highway. Those lines held, keeping the fire east of the highway and protecting Native allotments, the Yukon River crossing area, and Aleyeska Pump Station 6. Firefighters held traffic for an hour around 8 p.m., due to heavy smoke blowing across the highway.
Temperatures were warm in the upper 70s during the day Tuesday. However, the relative humidity was higher and moderated fire behavior. State and federal firefighting crews improved and reinforced their firelines along the two-track trail and the highway. A structure protection group, using boats along the river, constructed saw lines and set up a system of hoses to deliver water, called hoselays, to protect allotments located about 8 miles up river from the bridge. Sprinkler systems were set up around structures.
Fire managers are scouting a location to construct saw lines and hoselays between two peaks in the area of milepost 48 to keep the fire east of the highway. Once completed, fireline construction will continue north to the river using the burned area of the 2004 Waldron Creek Fire, which burned stands of black spruce that has regrown with brushy, hardwood tree mix. This change in vegetation can slow the advancing fire, giving firefighters the opportunity to build firebreaks.
The Dalton Highway is open, but firefighters may occasionally halt traffic to keep firefighters and travelers safe. Drivers need to use extreme caution between mileposts 45-62 by driving slow with their headlights on due to low visibility, firefighting personnel and equipment in the area. Do not stop on the highway and please utilize turnouts outside of mileposts 45-62. The Yukon River Camp north of the Yukon River Bridge, milepost 56 is open for food, fuel and lodging. The fire reached the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, however, it remains undamaged as it was designed to withstand wildfires.
The Alaska Type 2 Incident Management Team Black in-briefed yesterday and will spend today shadowing fire operations before assuming command of the fire Thursday morning. By having a management in place, local resources can return to their home units to be in place to respond to new fire starts.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire and some of the surrounding area to provide a safe operating environment for firefighting aircraft. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for more information on the TFR.
Personnel assigned: 195
Size: 7,574 acres