Winds challenge fire crews and send smoke to Dalton Highway

Start Date: 06/05/2020 Location: 17 miles SW of Stevens Village, AK

Cause: Lightning Fire Size:  11,665 acres

Containment: 30% Total Personnel: 294  

(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – An earlier than usual wind shift during a burn out operation on the Isom Creek Fire (#187) brought heavy smoke over the Dalton Highway near milepost 46 late Friday evening. Firefighters halted the burn operation and crews patrolled for and extinguished spot fires over the line. Water scooping aircraft and helicopters with water dropping buckets assisted ground forces. Firefighters and Alaska Division of Forestry engines patrolled the highway throughout the night, holding traffic occasionally when visibility was limited. An early morning reconnaissance flight showed the fire crossed over the saw line, but remains east of the highway. While there were delays for traffic, the road remained open.

This is a map showing the perimeter of the Isom Creek Fire (#187) on Saturday, June 13, 2020. To download a PDF file of the map click here.

During the day yesterday, favorable winds assisted firefighting efforts as crews mopped up and secured firelines around Native allotments and along the Dalton Highway and Hovercraft Road. Mop-up operations have resulted in 30 percent containment of the fire. To achieve containment, fire crews repeatedly gridded a 100 foot wide swath in the burned area along the fire’s perimeter and extinguished all traces of heat, to insure the fire will not cross into the unburned vegetation along the two-track trail, locally known as Hovercraft Road. Patrols on the river extinguished hot spots along the riverbank to ensure the fire will not spot across the Yukon River. Mop up was completed on the allotment about 8 miles up the river from the Dalton Highway Bridge where firefighters successfully protected the cabin. The fire was mapped at 11,665 acres Friday afternoon.

This is a video of Saturday morning’s operational briefing.

Today, firefighters will reassess their sawline that extends to the east from milepost 46 towards the 2004 Waldron Creek burned area. Crews will continue to secure and improve firelines along the highway. Squads of firefighters will move further upriver to implement structure protection measures on allotments. It will be another hot and dry day at the fire with a forecast of northeast winds and a chance of isolated thunderstorms.

The Dalton Highway is open. Travelers can expect flaggers, a pilot car and fire engines controlling traffic as needed. Drivers need to use extreme caution between mileposts 34-62 by driving slow with their headlights on. Be prepared for low visibility, firefighting personnel and equipment along the roadway. Do not stop on the highway. Please utilize turnouts outside of mileposts 34-62. The Yukon River Camp north of the Yukon River Bridge at 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.

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.

For more information about the fire email 2020.isomcreek@firenet.gov, call (907) 356-5907 or go to www.facebook.com/BLMAFS/ 

About 2020IsomCreekFire

Official Fire Information for the 2020 Isom Creek Fire.

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