UPDATE 7:30 P.M.
An aggressive aerial attack has helped tamp down an emerging wildfire off Brock Road in North Pole. Retardant-dropping air tankers and water bombing aircraft have pacified the upstart Brock Road Fire after it ballooned in size from one-half acre to an estimated 50 acres in two hours.
There are now more than 70 firefighters on the ground laboring to secure a control line around the fire, which erupted just before 2:30 p.m. and put up a large smoke column visible from North Pole and Fairbanks. A person flying a drone in the area was the first to report the fire.
An aggressive aerial assault by Fairbanks Area Forestry has helped restrain the fire to this point. Two air retardant tankers, one based in Fairbanks and one from Palmer, dropped at least four loads of retardant around the fire while four water-scooping aircraft from nearby Fairbanks International Airport and Fort Wainwright doused the fire with repeated water drops. Two helicopters also dropped water on the fire and ferried the first firefighters from Fairbanks Area Forestry to arrive on the fire.
No evacuations have been ordered. The closest homes to the fire were reportedly one-quarter mile to the south and west but the fire moved away, not toward, the residences.
At 7 p.m., the fire was not putting up any real visible smoke and firefighters and heavy equipment on the ground were working to secure control lines around the fire. Four Fairbanks Area Forestry Helitack members, eight smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service and three crews – Baker River Hotshots, the White Mountain Crew and the JAF Nanooks Wildland Fire Crew – are on the ground working to build and reinforce control lines and get water on the fire. The White Mountain Crew had been working on the Haystack Fire north of Fairbanks but were sent to help initial attack the fire. A bulldozer is also being used to build containment line.
Firefighters will remain on scene overnight to continue containment efforts and monitor the fire.
The fire was reported just before 2;30 p.m. by someone flying a drone in the area. The drone pilot then grounded his drone after reporting the fire to allow aircraft to work safely over the fire.
Air attack personnel estimated the fire at one-half acre at 3:30 p.m. it had grown to an estimated 50 acres by 5:30 p.m. The fire is burning primarily in black spruce. The fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.
The Alaska Division of Forestry is attacking a 50-acre wildland fire off Brock Road in North Pole and the road is closed north of Repp Road for public and firefighter safety.
No evacuations have been ordered and firefighters are hammering the Brock Road Fire from the air and ground. The nearest homes are one-quarter mile to the south and west. The fire was moving away from homes at last report.
An air tanker has made three retardant drops around the perimeter of the fire and four scooping aircraft and two helicopters are dropping water on the fire. A second air tanker from Palmer is also enroute to the fire. A van load of eight smokejumpers have been transported to the fire and are currently engaging the fire. Two crews are enroute and should be on scene in the next half hour. At least two Fairbanks Area Forestry engines are also responding to the fire. One bulldozer is on scene and another has been ordered.
The fire was reported just before 2;30 p.m. by multiple callers who reported a smoke column in the area of Brock and Repp roads. Air attack personnel estimated the fire at one-half acre at 3:30 p.m. but the fire has grown significantly in the last two hours. The fire is burning primarily in black spruce.
The White Mountain Crew is leaving the Haystack Fire enroute to the Brock Road Fire and the Baker River Hotshot Crew, which had been pre-positioned in Delta Junction is also no the way to the fire.
The fire is believed to be human caused.