The State of Alaska has a cross-border “splash and dash” agreement with Canada to provide aerial assistance with wildfire suppression, if resources are available.
Active Wildland Fire
A helicopter is on scene dropping water on the 2- to 3-acre fire and Helitack firefighters have been deployed to attack it on the ground. Two water-scooping aircraft based at Fort Wainwright have been ordered for water drops. Two more water scoopers and an air tanker that are currently working on a fire near Tok have also been requested to respond, as well as a hand crew.
Fire managers from Fairbanks Area Forestry are monitoring a new 100-acre wildfire burning in a Limited protection area east and south of the Steese Highway about 40 miles northeast of Fairbanks. It is roughly 15 miles northwest of the ongoing Munson Creek Fire near Chena Hot Springs.
The Black Hills Fire was reported on Wednesday and is burning about 2 miles west of Jatahmund Lake and 3 miles east of the Nabesna River. Smoke from the fire is visible from the Alaska Highway, Tok CutOff and Tetlin Road. There are several lakes and ponds in the area that will serve as natural barriers to help slow the progress of the fire.
The Alaska Type 1 Incident Management Team, two Alaska hotshot crews and more than a dozen Alaska Smokejumpers have been mobilized to the Lower 48 to assist with wildland fire management in the western United States.
The fire was producing a significant smoke column south of Chena Hot Springs on Monday that was clearly visible from Chena Hot Springs Resort. The fire is most active on the northeast corner well east of Chena Hot Springs and Far Mountain, and along the southern perimeter along the Middle Fork Chena River. The fire has not crossed the river and remains north of the river.
The Yankovich Road Fire was reported by a pilot at 2:30 p.m. Friday and quickly put up a 500-foot smoke column that prompted multiple calls to the Northern Forestry Dispatch Center in Fairbanks. There were numerous homes in the area, one of which was only about 100 yards north of the fire.
Firefighters continue work to protect historical cabins from the 32,645-acre Cultas Creek Fire (#223) burning in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Fire behavior is predicted to be most active near the mouth of the Charley River. Twelve firefighters from the National Park Service (NPS) and the BLM Alaska Fire Service are basing out of Coal Creek Camp.
With warmer weather in the forecast for the next several days, local residents, motorists on Chena Hot Springs Road visitors to Chena Hot Springs and recreationalists in the Chena River State Recreation Area should expect to see visible smoke from the interior of the fire until there is significant rainfall.
There were 119 personnel assigned to the fire as of Thursday morning but that number will shrink in the next few days as resources time out or are demobilized. The tentative plan is to downsize from a Type 3 to a Type 4 organization on Saturday. One crew, 6 engines, 1 helicopter and a small number of overhead personnel will remain to monitor the fire from the road and air.