Work is wrapping up on two fires in northeastern Alaska as BLM Alaska Fire Service keeps an eye out for new starts from lightning that have dotted the warmest and driest part of the state in the past few days. BLM AFS personnel will continue flying detection flights over areas that experienced lightning.
Four smokejumpers set up a sprinkler system and constructed fire breaks around a remote cabin threatened by the Preacher Creek Fire (# 226). This 17-acre fire is burning within the Steese National Conservation Area about 30 miles northwest of Central. They finished work and demobilized today.
Closer to Central, two crews – the BLM AFS Chena Hotshots and the Snake River Valley Type 2 Initial Attack Crew – anticipate finishing mopping up the Little Albert Creek Fire (#206) in the next few days. An unmanned aircraft system, or drone, with an infrared camera will help detect remaining hot spots to ensure this 536-acre fire is completely extinguished. This lightning caused fire is about 5 miles west of Central and burning within 2 miles north of the Steese Highway at milepost 120.
Of the 222 fires that have burned an estimated 23,074 acres across Alaska, 11 have burned roughly 1,877 acres in the Upper Yukon Fire Management Zone as of Saturday. Most burned in a limited management option area and were placed in monitor status.
There are seven active fires burning throughout the Zone that encompasses approximately 51.9 million acres east of the Tanana Zone to the Canadian border and from the North Slope south to Chicken. Of the active fires, the Olsons Lake and Kanuti River fires merged a few days ago and now fall under the Olsons Lake Fire (#188). Using satellite imagery, the fire was estimated at 1,150 acres. It is mostly burning in tundra about 3.5 miles east of the Dalton Highway around mileposts 106-110. It has slowly moved in the direction of the highway in the past few days before receiving about .75 inch of rain in the area yesterday with more forecasted in the next few days. Three firefighters left Fairbanks this morning to patrol the area in a National Park engine and take a look at the property that could possibly be threatened by the fire in the future. The two fires and the Arctic Circle Fire (#187) 3 miles to the north started June 13 from the same cluster of lightning strikes. When BLM AFS personnel flew over the area on June 19, the Arctic Circle Fire showed little smoke.
Meanwhile, activity is increasing at the BLM AFS fire station in Fort Yukon in conjunction to the continuing hot, dry conditions coupled with the recent and predicted lightning activity in the area. During times of high fire activity in northeastern Alaska, the Zone will staff a turn-key remote field station in Fort Yukon. When staffed, personnel at this field station coordinate movement of tactical and logistics resources for this area in conjunction with Zone personnel operating at the AFS facilities in Fort Wainwright. Otherwise, this organization occurs at the combined coordination unit and dispatch center at Fort Wainwright that also supports the Military and Tanana zones.
For more information, contact BLM AFS Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.