New Start near McGrath Burns 65 Acres

Galickson Creek Fire (#571) Update 7/17 at 8:30 am – The fire is 100% contained and mopped up 100 feet in off the fire’s edge. The smokejumpers and Lassen Hotshots will work today to mop up another 100 feet to create a secure 200-foot buffer around the entire fire perimeter. Last update on this wildfire unless significant activity occurs.

Update 7/16 at 9:00 am – Wetting rain occurred over the fire area yesterday significantly reducing fire activity. No fire spread is anticipated. The incident commander walked the perimeter at approximately 5:30 pm and stated that he found a handful of smokes near the line. The 12 smokejumpers and Lassen Hotshots will work to put out these areas of heat and hope to mop up 100 feet interior from the fire’s edge.

Update 7/15 at 8:00 am – The fire perimeter has not grown since Wednesday thanks to the work of McGrath Helitack, a load of smokejumpers, the Lassen Hotshots and air support from fixed wing air tankers and helicopters. The fire is 40% contained. Firefighters will continue to secure the edge and mop up areas of heat. The incident commander noted that the root systems and dry surface fuels are holding heat, which makes mop up difficult especially without a consistent water supply.

Update 7/14 at 2:00 pm – After walking the perimeter, the incident commander mapped the fire at 65 acres and has listed the perimeter at 15% contained. Fire Bosses and helicopters have been supporting ground personnel with water drops in an otherwise dry spruce and hardwood understory. Lassen Hotshots from the Lassen National Forest in California will be shuttled in by helicopter to help the smokejumpers and helitack that are currently working to contain the wildfire. The incident commander also stated there are areas of heat in the burned roots systems where the firefighters are dry mopping (extinguishing areas of heat without water), a laborious task.

Takotna, AK – Despite rainy weather throughout the state, new wildfire starts are still spreading in areas where fuels remain dry, including the Galickson Creek Fire (#571) near the town of Takotna approximately 15 miles northwest of McGrath close to an old airstrip.

An aerial overview of the Galickson Creek Fire shows a light white smoke column amongst dark green spruce trees and lighter green hardwood trees. The terrain features hills and ridges.
Photo of the Galickson Creek Fire (#571) taken from an Air Tactical Group Supervisor (air attack) shows the continuous spruce and hardwoods in the fire area.
A map of Southwest Alaska shows a fire icon and a text block to identify the Galickson Creek Fire #571.
A map of the Galickson Creek Fire (#571).

After an aggressive initial attack that included support from fixed wing air tankers, a helicopter, and Fire Bosses, the Galickson Creek Fire is currently 90 acres and not spreading any further. Eight helitack personnel initially staffed the fire and were supported by a load of 12 smokejumpers. A 20-person handcrew has been ordered to help secure and mop up this wildfire.

The incident commander reported that the fire was burning in both spruce and hardwood with an 80 to 90 percent active perimeter and 8 to 10 foot flame lengths. With a rough saw line in place around two-thirds of the perimeter, firefighters will strengthen this line and secure the fire’s edge. The fire was also reported to be burning deep in the tree roots, which makes mop up work difficult especially without an adequate water supply.

Some structures are located approximately one mile to the west and two miles to the south. The smoke column was also visible from the nearby communities of McGrath and Takotna.

Further updates will be provided when more information is received from the field.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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