Interior Alaska fires continue to challenge fire managers

Alaska Fire Service’s Tanana Fire Management Zone officers are managing a complex mix of fires and logistical challenges as the fire season continues.

aerial view of a forest fire adjacent to a road
Smokejumper spotter photo of the Boulder Fire (#351) along the Tofty Highway. AFS photo by E. Butterfield.

The Hutlinana Fire (#327) was discovered and attacked by smokejumpers on June 21. The fire is a full protection fire, burning between Hutlinana Creek and Hutlitakwa Creek about 10 miles east of Manley Hot Springs. Its current size is 327 acres. Aggressive work by smokejumpers and Fire Boss air tankers have kept growth to a minimum and kept several spot fires outside the fire’s perimeter in check last night.

The Union Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) arrived on the fire last evening and the Redmond Hotshots arrived today. Fire Boss tankers made several water drops today to help contain the fire. Tonight, Alaska’s Chena Hotshots arrived on the fire from Fairbanks.  

The Fish Fire (#319) is located at mile marker 116 on the west side of the Dalton Highway. For current information on this, and four other fires managed by a Nevada Type 3 incident management team, please see this link:   

The Sithylemenkat Fire (#320) is a 337-acre fire in full protection burning along the western shore of Sithylemenkat Lake in the Ray Mountains. Eight smokejumpers took initial action on the fire on June 20. The smokejumpers were demobilized today, leaving the 20-person Vale IHC on the fire. The fire edge has been secured and mop-up operations continue.     

The Boulder Fire (# 351) is a six-acre fire burning in black spruce on the side of the Tofty Road between mile markers 37 and 38 – about 23 miles northwest of Manley Hot Springs. Tonight, the fire is 15% contained. Eight jumpers attacked the fire on June 21, and tonight Alaska’s Midnight Suns Hotshots are enroute to assist.

A water tender (tanker truck) is on order to deliver water to the site to help firefighters cool the fire and mop-up. We expect personnel to be on this fire for several more days, so travelers on the road between Tanana and Manley Hot Springs are asked to be alert for low visibility smokey conditions and increased traffic by fire equipment.     

On June 22, the Chitanana Fire (#315), a limited protection fire, merged with the Vachon Fire (#314) several miles to its east. The smokejumpers that had been doing point protection on Vachon Fire were pulled off. This fire is approximately 25 miles west of Manley Hot Springs and is approaching the Tanana River between the Chitanana River to the west and the Cosna River to the east. There are allotments in the area along the river. Tonight, smokejumpers are assessing the allotments along the Tanana and Cosna Rivers near the fire.    

About 15 miles south of this fire is the Bitzshitini Fire (#312). It is a limited protection fire that started on June 20. This fire has merged with another limited fire just to its north called the Dinosaur Fire (#342). Today smokejumpers were deployed to the fire to perform point protection on the southern and northern flanks of the fire. Tonight, smokejumpers are installing pumps and hoses to protect two cabins east of the fire. The fire is estimated at over 2,000 acres.  

Twelve smokejumpers were deployed last night to the Allen Fire (348) about 16 miles north of Manley Hot Springs. This is a 14-acre fire burning in a limited protection area.

Residents and visitors are asked to continue to be careful when pursuing outdoor activities to avoid causing any human-caused fires.

map showing fire # 327
Hutlinana Fire map
map showing fire #320 next to lake
Sithylemenkat Lake Fire map
map with fire #351 along river
Boulder Fire map
map showing fires 315 and 314 next to Tanana River
Chitanana Fire map

Categories: AK Fire Info

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