Aggie Creek Fire north of Fairbanks reaches 10% containment

Hotshot crews continue to improve their fireline around the Aggie Creek Fire (#284) north of Fairbanks about 25 miles. Two of the five spots created by the fire during its initial run Wednesday continue to hold heat and put-up smoke. Water dropping aircraft have kept the spots from growing the past few days as firefighters cut a saw ling around the main fire. Firefighters are now able to move additional personnel to the spots to mop up the pockets of heat and secure the perimeters of all the spots.

There is 10% containment of the main fire. Containment is when a control line completed around a fire can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread. Firefighters achieve this by clearing a wide perimeter around the fire, removing all burnable material, and extinguishing all hotspots. This process is referred to as mop up. These mopped up areas can be 200 feet into the burned area from the fire’s edge. This width is dependent on, but not limited to, terrain, fuel type and fire behavior.

This photograph shows a cleared fire perimeter saw line in a forest that is burnt on one side and green on the other.
A fire hose is stretched out on a saw line along the perimeter of the Aggie Creek Fire (#284) on Saturday, June 18, 2022. This potion of line still needs to be mopped up to remove the burnable fuels on the burnt side to create a suitable containment line. Ernest Prax/Alaska Division of Forestry

Fairbanks 1 Crew widened the protective perimeter of the nearby 0.5-acre Aggie Creek 2 Fire (#291). They conducted several grid searches of the fire and found no heat or smoke. They will finish clearing a helicopter landing zone today and leave the fire in monitor status.

This photograph shows a helicopter sitting in landing zone cleared in a forested area.
A helicopter sits in a cleared landing zone near the Aggie Creek Fire (#284) on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Ernest Prax/Alaska Division of Forestry

Both fires are the result of lightning strikes from passing thunderstorms on Wednesday, June 15. Thunderstorms will develop each afternoon and evening in the Interior for the next few days potentially sparking new fires. More fires from past storms are expected. It is not unusual for a lightning strike to holdover and smolder for days, or potentially weeks, in the duff before a warm day with a breeze brings it life. The duff layer, that layer of decomposing moss, lichen, and tree litter, often about a foot deep, that make up the floor of the boreal forests and tundra, is very dry. Light rain is not enough to penetrate the duff effectively enough to make it less susceptible to burning.

Reconnaissance flights are conducted daily across the state looking for new fires.

This photograph shows a jumbled pile of fallen trees left after a fire weakened their roots.
Fires often burn the root structure of trees, especially in Alaska where trees have shallow roots because of permafrost. These trees often topple over into piles referred to as jackstraw. These are very difficult for firefighters to extinguish and clear away during mop up operations. This jackstraw pile of trees is shown on the Aggie Creek Fire (#284) on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Ernest Prax/Alaska Division of Forestry

Categories: AK Fire Info

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