Heli-rappellers to support point protection on Lime Complex – operations video update

June 17th Alaska Type 2 Black Incident Management Team Operations Update by career Alaskan smokejumper and Operations Section Chief trainee Matt Allen.

The fires under the Black Team management include #188, 189, 190, 193 197, 198, 205, 206, 207, 216, 228, 239, 240, 244, 245, 246, 247 and 273. The total acreage for the 18 fires in the Lime Complex is 372,677. Staffed fires include Aghaluk Mountain Fire #206, Pike Creek Fire#239/Koktuli Fire #240 and Door Mountain Fire #244. As daily aerial observation flights show fire movement or threats to values at risk at the other fires, there will be updates on the suppression strategy which will focus on self sufficient crews specializing in point protection.

Yesterday three logistics specialists were inserted into the Aniak airstrip as part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen the supply chains. These caches of fuel, hose, pumps, equipment and food support the smokejumpers, hot shots, helitack, Alaska Fire Medics and other aviation and field support specialists spread throughout the area. The highest priority for all fire managers is to defend villages, lodges, cabins, native allotments, mining infrastructure and other values at risk. Teamwork and coordination of logistical aircraft to move fuel, supplies and personnel remains a critical priority.

Fixed wing aerial observations of the 21 million area of responsibility for the Black Team occurred again yesterday. These daily flights will remain the primary strategy to monitor fire behavior and prioritize the placement of the firefighters. Heli-rappellers – a specialized group of self-sufficient firefighters who are trained to descend from helicopters using ropes – are arriving into Aniak and will be inserted into the Door Mountain Fire #244. use ropes to lower firefighters to the ground.

Door Mountain (#244) ~10,595 acres, Lightning, Limited Management, 19 miles southwest of Lime Village – The fire has been fairly active and moving, though the predicted change in weather should moderate fire behavior across Southwest. A few cabin sites on the east side of the lake will require point protection should the fire move east. The heli-rappellers crew will be able to move from point to point working on protection measures.

Aghaluk Mountain (#206) ~94,953 acres, Lightning, Point Protection, 37 personnel, 51 miles east of Aniak –Pioneer Peak IHC continues structure protection. The rest of Winema IHC (14 persons) was scheduled to arrive on the fire today. The intent is that Winema will arrive as soon as suitable transportation has been secured. Fire managers are having to prioritize initial attack support missions in order to minimizing new fire on the landscape. This is a challenge when there are limited fixed wing logistical aircraft. Seven smokejumpers who have been working on structure protection are scheduled to be demobilized tomorrow and flown from Sleetmute to Fairbanks to reset for statewide initial attack needs. 

Pike Creek (#239) ~25,967 acres, Lightning, Point Protection, 8 personnel, 23 miles northwest of Iliamna Lake– Smoke impacted observation of the south side of the fire today and has in some cases stopped moving due to natural barriers. The eight smokejumpers continue focusing efforts on improvements and Native allotments along the Koktuli River. Structures saved following the lightning event on June 6th have been holding. Boats and helicopter are in place to support firefighters using a satellite radio while radio repeaters are put into place. This fire has burned together with Koktuli River (#240) ~29,516 acres, combined totals 55,483 acres.

Due to the vastness of this area, many of these fires do not have Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in place. However, a significant number of aircraft including fixed wing aerial observation platforms, general logistics aircraft and helicopters moving personnel, supplies and dropping water will be working all throughout southwest Alaska. We ask general aviation pilots and the public to remain vigilant of this increase of aircraft in the area. And as a reminder to drone pilots, “If You Fly, We Can’t”.

If you would like more information or have an information about cabins, lodges or other improvements that you feel fire managers in this area should know about please email 2022.aghalukmountain@firenet.gov. #2022AlaskaFireSeason

Categories: AK Fire Info

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