Firefighters continue working to fully contain two small wildfires burning on opposite sides of the Tanana Valley near Fairbanks.
The 1-acre Rosie Creek Fire (#174), which was reported early Saturday afternoon in the Rosie Creek area about 14 miles southwest of Fairbanks, was reportedly 90 percent contained as of Sunday morning and fire managers are expecting full containment by the end of shift today.
The 24-man North Star Fire Crew from the BLM Alaska Fire Service is mopping the fire up after an aggressive aerial attack Saturday pretty much drowned the fire during initial attack. Four water-scooping aircraft based at the BLM Alaska Fire Service on Fort Wainwright and a helicopter from Fairbanks Area Forestry were used to douse the fire with water drops.
A 10-person initial attack module from Fairbanks Forestry that was flown in to assist with containment has been released from the fire to be available for initial attack on any new starts in the Fairbanks area.
The North Star Crew will continue mop-up operations today and fire managers are anticipating full demobilization sometime tomorrow.
The cause of the Rosie Creek Fire is undetermined at this time and is under investigation.
On the opposite side of the Tanana Valley, meanwhile, nearly 50 firefighters continue pounding away to fully contain the 7-acre Salcha River Fire (#169) burning approximately 25 air miles up the Salcha River from the Richardson Highway. The fire was started by lightning on Wednesday about 50 miles southeast of Fairbanks and water bombing aircraft responding quickly and aggressively, making multiple water drops on the fire to douse flames and slow its progress until firefighters could be mobilized on the ground. The fire is burning on the south side of the river, about
As of Sunday morning, the fire was 60 percent contained – an increase of 30 percent from Saturday – and crews have started gridding the interior of the fire for any hot spots that need to be extinguished to achieve full containment. Crews spent Saturday removing and stacking trees that were cut down around the perimeter of the fire to serve as a fuel break.
The fire received minimal precipitation Saturday evening but has experienced good overnight relative humidity recovery to help mellow fire behavior.
“I’m not anticipating finding a lot of heat in the interior,” incident commander trainee Matt Nunnelly with Fairbanks Area Forestry said by phone Sunday morning. “We’ve had good relative humidity recovery. It’s been pretty moist at night.”