Yesterday afternoon as persistent sunshine continues to dry out Alaska, several new fire starts required initial attack. Jump ship 90 deployed six smokejumpers to the Walrus Islands Fire (#096). This is a group of islands located in the Bering Sea close to the northern shores of Bristol Bay at the entrance to Togiak Bay. The fire was reported near the Alaska Fish and Game camp for the Walrus Island State Game Sanctuary. Round Island is where the smokejumpers were inserted.
Aerial observer aircraft BD905 sized up the fire at 40 acres with a 60% active perimeter and described the fire behavior as “creeping and running”. Four structures were reported to be threatened with tanker 540 deploying two loads of water on the fire. Smokejumpers worked last night and are mopped up the fire today with no issues or injuries reported. Photos will be posted when received.
The North Fork Talkeetna Fire (#095) 10 miles northeast of Talkeetna near a private cabin was reported by Talkeetna flight service yesterday afternoon. Mat-Su Helitack responded to this full suppression fire and did bucket work to limit the fire spread uphill. The Gannett Glacier Fire Crew, having just completed critical training and currently with 14 firefighters on the roster, was inserted and will remain today to continue mop up and patrol. Last night and this morning the crew was able complete the saw line, extinguish both “candling trees” within the fire area and spot fires outside of the perimeter. Superintendent Bryan Quimby reported “Mat-Su Helitack did a fantastic job with the quick response knocking down the fire until we could get on scene. With the spring conditions the ground fuels are very dry but the fire was unable to burn deep into the tundra which continues to dry out.”
As a reminder, burn permits are required from April 1 through August 31. You can pick up a burn permit online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or pick them up at your local forestry office and at many local fire departments.
Read more about protection areas, fire management plans and wildfire in Alaska here: http://forestry.alaska.gov/fire/fireplans