UPDATE 9:30 p.m.
Here’s an aerial picture of the Salcha River Fire (#169) that was reported just before 2:30 p.m. today. The latest estimate remains at 7 acres and fire spread was greatly diminished following an aggressive aerial assault with multiple drops by two water-bombing aircraft and two retardant drops from an air tanker that encircled the fire.
Eight BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers and the White Mountain fire crew are on the ground securing containment lines around the perimeter of the fire and the Tanana Chiefs crew will be shuttled in before the end of shift to join the fray.
Helicopters are being used to shuttle supplies into firefighters while they work toward full containment.
UPDATE 7:45 p.m.
An aggressive aerial attack and hard work by firefighters on the ground has helped keep the Salcha River Fire (#169) in check.
Fire managers reported “minimal spread” once aircraft began dropping water and retardant on and around the fire. The fire footprint remains at an estimated 7 acres. Eight smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service and four Helitack firefighters from the Fairbanks forestry station have established a hose lay around the fire. Two retardants drops from air tankers have boxed in the fire to stall its spread and help ground forces work toward securing containment lines.
The two water bombers and the air tanker assigned to the fire have been released. Helicopters will be shuttling in the White Mountain and Tanana Chiefs crews in the next couple of hours to bolster initial attack efforts on the ground.
UPDATE 5 p.m.
Aircraft continue to attack a small wildfire 25 miles up the Salcha River with water and retardant drops while more firefighters are mobilized to the fire.
As of 4:15 p.m., the #SalchaRiverFire was estimated to have grown slightly to 5-7 acres. Two water-bombing aircraft based at the BLM Alaska Fire Service on Fort Wainwright are scooping water from Harding Lake and have made multiple water drops on the fire.
An air tanker based at Fairbanks International Airport has dropped one load of retardant on the south flank of the fire closest to cabins along the river and will be making another retardant drop on the northern flank to box the fire in.
Eight BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers four Fairbanks Area forestry helitack firefighters are on the ground taking direct suppression action on the fire. The 20-man White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew is waiting to be shuttled into the fire by helicopter and the Tanana Chiefs Type 2 Initial Attack Crew is also enroute to the fire.
The Alaska Division of Forestry is responding to a report of a 3-acre wildfire burning near the Salcha River approximately 25 miles east of the Richardson Highway.
The Salcha River Fire (#169) was reported at 2:22 p.m. Helitack responded and reported the fire to be approximately 3 acres, burning in black spruce and mixed hardwoods approximately 1 mile north of the Salcha River near Flat Creek. Flame lengths of 10-20 feet were reported and there are cabins along the river in the area. The fire is believed to be a lightning holdover.
A four-person Helitack load from state forestry is on the ground and a helicopter is making water drops on the fire. A load of eight smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service is preparing to deploy and two water-scooping aircraft and an air tanker are also enroute. The Division of Forestry’s White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew has also been ordered for the fire.