Firefighters are wrapping up work on two human-caused wildfires smoldering in rural Southwest Alaska, one near the village of Pilot Point on the Alaska Peninsula and one near the village of Akiachak on the Kuskokwim River
The Pilot Point Fire (#104) approximately 2 miles north of Pilot Point was 85 percent contained as of Friday morning and full containment is expected by Saturday morning. The remains at an estimated 3,750 aces and has shown minimal growth and activity the past two days.
As of Friday, there were 26 people working on the fire, which started Monday when a fire escaped the village dump and spread into grass surrounding the dump. Local residents tried to put it out but could not and smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service were flown in to suppress the fire.
The Pioneer Peak Hotshots spent today working on a 2-mile section of unsecured line on the northern perimeter of the fire to identify any remaining areas of heat. A drone equipped with an infrared camera will also be flown over the fire Saturday area to search out any hot spots that may remain.
The Pioneer Peak Hotshots are scheduled to be demobilized from the fire on Sunday and the four smokejumpers remaining on the fire are scheduled to be pulled off the fire on Monday.
The Kiktak island Fire (#112) near Akiachak was 50 percent contained as of Friday morning. The acreage increased slightly from 180 to 254 acres but that was primarily due to better mapping than increased fire behavior.
There were 23 personnel assigned to fire as of Friday morning, including the 21-man White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew and two BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers.
The fire started Monday near a fish camp on a slough of the Kuskokwim River about 2 miles south of Akiachak. Local residents tried to put the fire out and thought they were successful but the fire flared up Tuesday and smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service and the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew were called in to control the fire. Retardant drops from two air tankers and helicopter water drops were used to slow the spread of the fire and help firefighters on the ground bring it under control.
On Thursday, the White Mountain Crew worked to extinguish hot spots identified on the east and west flanks and around the head of the fire. A flight on Thursday revealed no visible smoke on the fire..
Today, the White Mountain Crew began gridding the fire to seek out any remaining hot spots. As of 2 p.m., they had finished gridding about half the fire and found 11 hot spots that they extinguished. The crew should complete gridding the fire by the end of shift today.
The crew also began removing hoses, pumps and other supplies that are no longer needed to be backhauled off the fire.
If all goes according to plan, all firefighters will be demobilized from the fire sometime on Saturday.