Wildfires in the Yukon Flats exhibited extreme fire behavior Thursday for the second day in a row – prompting smokejumpers to conduct burn operations to protect Native allotments and cabins.
Thanks to a favorable wind direction, four smokejumpers were able to burn from a sawed fire break around an allotment and cabin as the Kocacho Fire (#592) got close. The wildfire reached the edge of the area already burned by the smokejumper’s controlled burn Thursday, effectively stopping the fire from reaching the allotment or the cabin surrounded by continuous black spruce. The 5,758-acre fire is burning about 18 miles east of Venetie. These four BLM AFS smokejumpers will wrap up work on the allotment and plan to demobilize on Sunday.
When conditions were optimal on Aug. 4, 2022, Smokejumpers Brian Kirkman, Mike O’Brien , Corey “Baja” Baldner-Hathaway and Ryan Stroud burned off a saw line and were able to stop the Kocacho Fire (#592) from impacting the allotment and cabin. Pictured here is the yellow tarp over the smokejumper’s camp to the right of a cabin in the middle of continuous black spruce. Photo by Chris Bixby, BLM Alaska Fire Service
Meanwhile, additional smokejumpers were dispatched to help protect cabins and Native allotments from merged fires burning along the Porcupine River 41 miles east of Fort Yukon. The Goose Fire (#395) and Belle Fire (#395) merged Thursday to become one wildfire – the Goose Fire – burning between Sams Big Lake, Belle Lake and Rock Lake north of the river. Four Fire Boss airplanes, and a helicopter with a bucket suspended underneath, dropped water that aided smokejumpers conducting a burn operation to protect the allotment and cabin between Belle Lake and the river.
Fire activity moderated later that evening, but picked back up when a thunder cell moved through the Goose Fire area at approximately 2 a.m., bringing erratic winds that pushed the fire through black spruce and brush. The smokejumpers are divided between the north and south end of the more than 10,000-acre fire where the two different allotments are located.
The Goose Fire (#395) and Belle Fire (#395) are burning in the Yukon Flats in northeast Alaska about 41 miles east of Fort Yukon on Aug. 4, 2022. Smokejumpers, aided by water-scooping Fire Boss aircraft and a helicopter, were protecting two Native allotments two fires that merged on that day. Photo by John Lyons, BLM Alaska Fire Service air attack
Firefighters on the Kocacho and Goose fires reported receiving between a trace and wetting rains in the area overnight. Both were forecasted to get scattered rain showers on Friday, aiding in the overall slow down of fire season in the persistently warm and dry northeastern part of the state. The smokejumpers will continue to work on fire breaks around the allotments.
Contact BLM Alaska Fire Service Public Affairs Specialist Beth Ipsen at (907)356-5510 or email@example.com for more information.