Firefighters successfully conducted a burn operation Friday to protect Native allotments along the Tanana River Friday from the advancing Dry Creek Fire. Due to the fire’s progress and rapid growth to the northwest in recent days, fire managers decided to take action to protect the two properties near the confluence of the Tanana River and Hot Springs Slough. The fire is now estimated at 26,000 acres. It is still south of the Tanana River.
Eight smokejumpers, the BLM Alaska Fire Service Chena Hotshots, and the Medford #10 Type 2 Initial Attack Crew finished construction on an indirect control line outside the allotment that firefighters used to anchor the burn operation from. Using a combination of aerial ignitions from a helicopter and ground ignitions off of the control line, firefighters burned a two-mile long swath of land consisting mostly of tundra tussocks with some hardwoods and spruce. Removing this burnable vegetation ahead of the fast-moving fire creates a protective buffer for the allotments. It will also significantly slow the fire’s movement down once it hits that patch of already burned vegetation. Firefighters are now mopping up the edges of the burn operation, making sure they are cold. Cooler weather is forecasted over the fire area today to help those efforts. The forecast calls for maximum temperature of 68 with humidity levels of 44% and light southwest winds.
The fire will continue to burn in more of a westerly direction following the Tanana River. There are Native allotments much farther along the river to the southwest that have an old fuel break constructed by the Chena Hotshots about a decade ago that will need to be cleaned up. Firefighters flying over the eastern edge of the fire along the Zitiziana River reported less activity with only a few pockets showing smoke.