Firefighters are scattered throughout Central Alaska, working on both new wildfires and ones burning for several days.
Smokejumpers responded to two small fires east and west of Manley Hot Springs Wednesday. Two smokejumpers made quick work of a small fire burning next to the Elliott Highway about 10 miles southwest of Livengood. The Lost Fire (#281) was ignited by someone burning their toilet paper during a pit stop along the highway near milepost 80. The fire was reported at about 10:23 a.m.
Aircraft, including two water scoopers, and smokejumpers, were mobilized for the fire. After smokejumpers did their initial size up of the quarter-acre fire from the air, the other aircraft were sent home and only two of the eight smokejumpers were deployed. The fire was reported as smoldering and creeping in a mixture of hardwood and spruce trees. An engine joined the effort Wednesday night. The fire was considered controlled at noon Thursday.
While this is the first time a wildfire ignited from someone disposing of toilet paper this season, it has happened in the past. People are urged to leave no trace by packing it out instead of burning your trash and possibly starting a wildfire.
Four other smokejumpers also responded Wednesday to a lightning-caused fire burning 14 miles west of Manley Hot Springs. The Bean Fire (#282) was reported at about 4:30 p.m. by a pilot flying to Fairbanks. The small fire was about a quarter of an acre and burning in a mixture of black and white spruce. Smokejumpers will spend the next few days to completely extinguish the fire.
Meanwhile, firefighters are still working on the Batztoa Lake Fire (#252) burning near Hughes and the almost 50,000-acre Hog Butte Fire (#185) burning about 20 miles southwest of Lake Minichumina.
Two smokejumpers and BLM Alaska Fire Service Midnight Sun Hotshots will finish up work to clear a fire break around a Native allotment to protect it from the large Hog Butte Fire and demobilize at the beginning of next week. The fire has passed the allotment on its journey north, burning through a mixture of black spruce, tundra and hardwoods.
The area north and east of the fire burned in 2015, which should slow the spread toward Lake Minichumina. The main part of the fire is burning to the west of the North Fork of the Kuskokwim River, but spotted to the east. The spot fire is surrounded by wetlands and isn’t likely to gain much ground.
This lightning-caused fire started on June 5 and is burning in a limited management option area, which allows the fire to function in its natural ecological role as long as it’s not threatening any nearby sites of value. The Vale Hotshots, who arrived Wednesday from Oregon, and the K-River 1 crew, a BLM Type 2 contract hand crew with assembly points in nearby Allakaket, Huslia and Hughes, will spend the next few days making sure the 120-acre Batztoa Lake fire is completely out. The fire is burning in a mixture of hardwoods and spruce in steep terrain without a nearby water source to aid in these efforts.
For more information, contact Public Information Officer Andy Gray at 907-356-5510 or by email .
Categories: AK Fire Info