June 14, 2022, Daily Update, 10:30 AM
East Fork Fire
STATS: 129,197 acres
Location: 3.7 miles northwest of St. Mary’s
Start Date: May 31, 2022
Cause: Natural, Lightning
Fuels: A mix of tundra, brush, and black spruce
Apoon Pass Fire
STATS: 43,820 acres
Location: 24 miles north of Mountain Village
ST. MARY’S, Alaska. – Progression has slowed, but the East Fork Fire remains active with dry fuels and wind-driven movement at its head, flank, and backing. However, most of the fire progression has shifted to the northeast edges, rather than the south. The shift in wind direction and cooler weather has allowed more fire-fighting activity directly on the fire’s edge.
Operations: Yesterday, smokejumpers worked the active edge of the western flank, supported by water drops from aircraft. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used Plastic Sphere Dispensers (PSD) to burnout fuels around the southern toe of the fire. They made significant progress toward the goal of reducing fuels in the area between the Andreafsky River (North Fork) and the East Fork. In addition, crews improved an existing fireline constructed by a local fuels crew around the community of Pilot Station and prepped cabins on allotments to protect them from fire. No structures have been damaged or lost.
Today, aerial ignitions using UAS will clean up unburned fuels between the North Fork and East Fork of the Andreafsky River. The Chena Hot Shots and smokejumper crews will continue their work of direct attack on the western flank, supported by aircraft. Crews will continue to improve primary and contingency containment lines protecting St. Mary’s, Pitkas Point, and Mountain Village, as well as improve existing line around Pilot Station. Assessments are being conducted to identify the best placement of additional containment line north and west of Pilot Station and of potentially vulnerable structures and allotments along the Yukon River east of Mountain Village. Work continues to secure the area around the fish weir and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cabin on the East Fork.
If you have been watching the rapid growth of the Apoon Pass Fire in recent days, the growth is due to the fast spread of fire through the dry, light fuel of tundra grasses. Aerial monitoring of both the East Fork and Apoon Pass fires will continue daily in order to identify any allotments, structures, or cultural sites that may be at risk. As a reminder, temporary flight restrictions remain in effect (https://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.jsp).
Evacuations: No mandatory evacuation order in place. Voluntary relocations are continuing for St. Mary’s, Mountain Village, Pitkas Point, and Pilot Station. Some residents are sheltered temporarily in Bethel with support from the Red Cross and Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.
Ready: St. Mary’s and Pitkas Point are currently in “Ready” position.
Set: No communities at this time.
Go: No communities at this time.
Weather: Favorable weather may continue longer than expected, perhaps lasting into early next week. The next few days will see similar weather conditions holding with south winds. Wednesday may see the start of a warming trend and light, variable winds. With the southerly winds, smoke will be mostly dispersed away from the communities, but continued firing operations nearby could contribute to smoke in the area.
Categories: AK Fire Info