Smokejumpers working on lightning-caused fires north of Galena, Venetie

Twelve smokejumpers and two water-scoopers were dispatched to take care of two lightning-caused fires Monday – one burning 25 miles north of Galena and the other 11 miles northwest of Venetie.

Map of the Natlaratlin River Fire burning north of Galena on June 23, 2020.
Map of the Natlaratlin River Fire burning north of Galena on June 23, 2020.

Eight smokejumpers, aided by two water-scooping CL-415, were able to stop the Natlaratlen River Fire (#293) burning north of Galena in the in the Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge Monday night. Smokejumpers were dispatched from Galena and were able to get around the perimeter of the 39-acre fire Monday night. It was considered 50% contained this morning. The fire received a bit of rain Tuesday to help with firefighters’ efforts to get the fire 100% contained and controlled. The fire is burning in a modified option area and was not immediately threatening any resources, structures or cultural sites. However, land managers decided to take swift action on the fire while it was still small to help ensure it wouldn’t be a problem later on in the summer. This fire was spotted by BLM AFS personnel aboard a flight transporting people from Galena to Fairbanks.

Map of Crater Creek Fire (#293) and Flooded Lake Fire (#288) burning north of Venetie on June 23, 2020.
Map of Crater Creek Fire (#293) and Flooded Lake Fire (#288) burning north of Venetie on June 23, 2020.

Meanwhile, four smokejumpers were dispatched to the Crater Creek Fire (#292) burning north of Venetie. It was considered 50% contained this morning as the four will keep working for 100% containment of the one-acre fire. The fire was burning in a mixture of black spruce and willow. This fire was burning in a full protection area on tribal lands. It was not immediately threatening any structures or cultural sites. It is burning about 32 miles west of the Flooded Lake Fire (#288) where the BLM AFS BLM Alaska Fire Service Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshot Crew is working toward full containment by cutting a line around the 9-acre fire and extinguishing all hot spots 20 feet into the interior. It was estimated at 70% contained this morning.

There are 62 people still working on the 160-acre Porcupine Fire (#249) burning 17 miles northeast of Fort Yukon Tuesday. This fire is considered 75% contained. The CATG Type 2 contract crew and two smokejumpers wrapped up work on the Ninemile Lake Fire (#270) and demobilized Monday.

Northern Alaska continues to be the driest part of the state with record amount of rain falling on Interior Alaska, triggering flood warnings. Besides these fires, the only other staffed fire is the Isom Creek Fire (#187) burning near the Dalton Highway Yukon River Crossing.

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907)356-5511.

About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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