Two human-caused wildfires that ignited near villages in rural Southwest Alaska earlier this week are now 100 percent contained and firefighters will spend another day mopping up before demobilizing.
The Pilot Point Fire (#104) near the village of Pilot Point on the Alaska Peninsula was declared fully contained at 7:33 p.m. Friday. Burned acreage remains at an estimated 3,750 acres.
The 26 firefighting personnel working on the fire will continue to grid the fire for any remaining hot spots today. A drone equipped with an infrared camera will be flown over the fire today to help identify any remaining sources of heat that need to be extinguished.
A full demobilization of firefighting personnel is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today.
The Pilot Point Fire started on Monday when a fire escaped the village dump and spread into tundra grass surrounding the dump. Local residents tried to put the fire out but were unable to do so and called for help.
The Kiktak Island Fire (#112) near the village of Akiachak on the Kuskokwim River about 13 miles northeast of Bethel was declared fully contained at 8:02 p.m. Friday. The fire, which started Monday in a fish camp on a slough about 2 miles south of the village, burned an estimated 254 acres.
The 21-man White Mountain Crew from Fairbanks completed a grid 100 feet inside the perimeter of the fire on Friday and identified 20 hot spots that were extinguished. The crew will continue to grid the fire further inside the perimeter today to search for any remaining heat sources that need attention.
Pumps, hose and other equipment that was pulled from the fire on Friday was backhauled by aircraft.
All 23 personnel working on the fire will be demobilizing either Sunday or Monday depending on how many hot spots are identified during today’s seek and destroy mission.
The Kiktak Island Fire started on Monday and local residents thought they had put the fire out but it flared up on Tuesday and local responders called for help. A federal fire investigator is looking into the cause of the fire.