Isom Creek Fire management to transition to Type 4 Saturday morning

(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – Fire activity continued its downward trend Thursday with a smaller organization taking over the management of the Isom Creek Fire tomorrow morning. Unless conditions change and fire activity significantly increases, this will be the last update for this fire. 

Map of Isom Creek Fire
The Isom Creek Fire burning 17 miles southwest of Stevens Village. Suppression repair is being conducted in helicopter landing areas and indirect burn lines along the east flank of the fire. For a pdf of this map, click here.

The fire has moved into an area burned in recent years that reduced the amount of fuel available. In addition, increased humidity and precipitation decreased fire activity. The eastern edge of the fire, which is still uncontained, continues to have long-term potential for spread if fuels dry later in the season. Crews will actively monitor the fire, extinguish hot spots and may conduct a burnout to secure the eastern flank if conditions allow. The 12,180-acre fire is 70% contained. The fire will be monitored until it is completely contained, or the fire season ends. 

photo of drone on ground
Unmanned aircraft equipped with infrared detecting camera is used to fly over the Isom Creek Fire and search out hot spots which, depending on location, are extinguished or monitored. Drones are also used to map the perimeter of the fire.

Thursday was sunny and windy. An unmanned aircraft, or drone, fitted with an infrared (IR) camera flew Thursday afternoon and detected no hot spots. Drone IR flights detect heat on the ground and are scheduled for the remainder of this week. Drones are able to fly at lower altitudes and can more accurately detect hot spots than manned aircraft. The drone may also be used to map a more accurate fire perimeter. It is also safer and less expensive than flying a helicopter low and slow over a fire.

photo of airborne drone
A drone equipped with an infrared camera flies over the Isom Creek Fire searching for heat on the ground. Drones are also used for mapping the fire perimeter.

The incoming Incident Management Commander has worked closely with the current Type 3 Management staff to assure a smooth hand off. Two crews, the La Grande Hotshots and the Winema Hotshots, both of Oregon, will demobilize today. The BLM Alaska Fire Service Chena Hotshots and the Zigzag Hotshots from Oregon remain on the fire supported by one helicopter. Both crews spent Thursday familiarizing themselves with the different divisions of the fire and are moving equipment and personnel. Resources are shifting to focus on the eastern flank of the fire. A small contingent will continue to monitor the western and southern perimeters. 

The Incident Command Post for the Isom Creek Fire will stay at Five Mile Camp, but in a much smaller footprint. The campground is closed, but incoming fire managers will work with BLM to decide when it will reopen to public.

A black bear was sighted but did not threaten firefighters Thursday, near the helibase north west of Five Mile Camp. The Wind River Bear Dogs and handler Nils Pedersen responded and caught scent, but no sight of the bear. The bear dog team is scheduled to demobilize and return to Fairbanks Saturday.

The Dalton Highway remains open to travel, with traffic control as needed for smoke conditions or in support of firefighting efforts. The Five Mile Campground near the Yukon Bridge on the Dalton Highway remains closed to public access; it is reserved for crews fighting the Isom Creek Fire. The Yukon River Camp north of the Yukon River Bridge at milepost 56 is open for food, fuel and lodging. 

Temporary Flight Restriction(TFR) remains in place over the fire and some of the surrounding area to provide a safe operating environment for firefighting aircraft. 

For more information, contact the Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office at (907) 356-5511. For a pdf of this report, click here.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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