Firefighters experience success despite challenging conditions

Over the weekend smokejumpers and hotshots were able to respond quickly to multiple emerging fires and prevent them from becoming large incidents, including the Little Salt Fire (#521), and Slate Fire (#509).

Because the lightning-caused starts were remote, smokejumpers, scooper planes, and helicopters were assigned to subdue them. Catching fires when they’re still small during this phase of the fire year, when resources are stretched thin between multiple incidents across the entire state of Alaska, helps protect people and villages. Firefighters have flown deep into the Alaskan backcountry to protect communities, structures, allotments, and even critical habitat for species such as caribou.

Fire managers in Alaska must first provide for firefighter and public safety, but must also protect villages and homes across the state. The 2022 Alaskan summer has been particularly demanding for the Tanana Zone BLM Alaska Fire Service resources. Managers have faced dry conditions, high temperatures, sustained Red Flag Warnings with tens of thousands of lightning strikes, hundreds of active fires, limited resources, supply shortages, and poor visibility which have continuously tested their ability to keep people safe.

The Tanana Zone is approximately 44.3 million acres in the northern middle section of Alaska in between the Galena and Upper Yukon zones. The Zone stretches from the North Slope south to Denali National Park and west of the Dalton Highway to the Colville and Koyukuk rivers.

Weather forecasts for the coming days predict higher-than-average winds accompanied by changing weather conditions. Significant fire growth is expected. Managers will be tasked with deciding where to allocate resources on existing fires, and how to effectively attack emerging fires that have been a result of weeks of sustained lightning. In the face of so many challenges, firefighters and their support teams continue to prioritize the protection of communities, homes, and property.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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