Firefighters have achieved 20 percent containment on the 7-acre Salcha River Fire (#169) and the fire should be fully corralled by Sunday if all goes according to plan, fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry reported Thursday night.
A total of 56 personnel are tackling the fire burning 25 air miles up the Salcha River and 50 miles southeast of Fairbanks. The fire is burning in black spruce and mixed hardwoods on a hillside on the south side of the river, about one-quarter mile from the river. There are four cabins in the immediate vicinity, but none are considered at risk at this point.
Firefighters spent Thursday working to secure containment lines put in place during the initial attack on Wednesday. The White Mountain and Tanana Chiefs crews, along with eight smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service, are attacking the edges of the fire. Firefighters have cut a fire break around the perimeter of the fire – called a saw line – and have encircled it with hose to give them a water source to extinguish any hot spots found.
Crews are inspecting the perimeter of the fire for hot spots that could flare up, a process called “cold trailing.” As of Thursday night, firefighters had cold trailed 10-25 feet inside the perimeter and are shooting to increase that to 50 feet on Friday.
The main concern at this point is hot spots on the interior of the fire that firefighters have yet to engage and could flare up with wind or warmer weather. Mild weather has been aiding suppression efforts up to this point and firefighters are aiming to have the fire fully extinguished before a warming and drying trend that is forecast to hit the Interior in the next few days.