Update on Some Fires in Alaska

Finally the rain came after a few weeks of hot, dry and smoky. We are now in a single digit of wildfire that starts everyday. Thank goodness! I had my boy kept inside the house for few days now because I know that the smoke is not good for him. Hopefully the rain will take care some of the smoke and the fires today.
Picture Taken by #Graham Predeger from Stetson Creek Fire

Photo Taken by #Jennifer Costich from Tozitna Fire 6/22/15

Below is information of Fire in Alaska from the InciWeb Incident Information Center website

Incident Overview

The fire situation in Alaska is very dynamic at this time. As of today (Saturday, June 27, 2015) there are 321 active fires in the State. Many fires in remote areas are unstaffed. The major staffed fires have their own Inciweb pages. Just the fires listed below are currently burning approximately, acres.

These other staffed fires include the following:
The Rock fire is 9 miles SE of the village of Hughes which is located in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of central Alaska. This 800 acre lightning caused fire began on June 19. Fire resources on scene have developed point protection strategies. The fire was flown on 6/22. Smokejumpers are still working this fire. There was no new information on 6/27.

La Grande:
The La Grande fire is located 12 miles SW of Delta Junction, Alaska. The city is south of the confluence of the Delta River with the Tanana River, and is about 99 mi south of Fairbanks. The La Grande fire is on military lands managed by Fort Greeley, an Army installation. A Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) assumed command on June 22. On June 25 and 26, the fire received a small amount of precipitation which has moderated the fire behavior. There are 22 resources assigned to this fire.
Nenana Ridge:
The Nenana fire is located 8 miles east of milepost (MP) 312 on the Parks Highway and 2 miles west of the Tanana River. This lightning caused fire began on June 20 and is estimated at 325 acres. On June 25, firefighters worked along with air resources to contain the fire. In the evening large thunder cells moved into the area and all air and ground resources had to stand down for safety. On June 26 the fire is listed as 65% contained.

The Nulato fire is located right outside the village of Nulato, Alaska. Nulato is located on the west bank of the Yukon River, 35 miles west of Galena and 310 air miles west of Fairbanks. It lies in the Nulato Hills, across the river from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (current population 271)

The fire was ignited by lightning on June 21 and is 800 acres. Aircraft and personnel worked throughout the day on Monday, June 22, to try to save the town of Nulato. By early afternoon, the fire had spotted across both the Nulato River road and the dozer line. As the tankers tried to knock down the head, and personnel extinguish the spots, it was discovered that the fire had spotted into Nulato. Crews were able extinguish the spots in Nulato, however a spot fire was able to establish itself on the other side of the structures and began to run up the hill, basically surrounding Nulato by fire. Aided by the arrival of a air tanker crew securing existing barriers and performing burn out operations, the town of Nulato was secured for the night and remains secure at this time.

A recommended evacuation for the town of Nulato (pop. Approx. 200) was issued on June 22. Those who chose to evacuate left by boat as the airstrip was closed due to smoke. On June 25, air resources were utilized to shuttle a crew to the fire and demobilize 10 smokejumpers and the Midnight Suns hot shot crew. Crews continued chainsaw work in Nulato to mitigate existing snags. Resources also continued to secure Nulato and prepare Koyukuk for structure protection. Additional Type 2 team members have been positioned in place on the fire. Supplies and fresh food were delivered to support the ongoing operations. As of June 27, the fire perimeter is 100% active with isolated group torching. Firefighters continue constructing hose lay, saw line, fuel breaks, and will possibly be burning out if necessary. Firefighters will attack and mop-up all spot fires within the outskirts of Nulato. Due to the threatened status of the village of Koyukuk firefighters anticipate constructing a saw line and hose lay in a natural slough barrier southwest of Koyukuk.
Ruby Slough:
The Ruby Slough fire is located about 7 miles SW of the community of Ruby. Ruby is a village located on the south bank of the Yukon River, in the Kilbuck-Kuskokwim Mountains. It is about 50 air miles west of Fairbanks. Ruby lies adjacent to the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. Current population is 185.

Ruby Slough was a lightning caused fire that began on June 20 and is about 47 acres. On June 25, The Midnight Suns hot shot crew replaced the smokejumpers and a Division Supervisor arrived on the fire. The fire received no additional growth on June 26.

Long Lake & Moose Creek:
Lightning started the Long Lake fire on Saturday, June 20. It is two miles SE of Northway Village, Alaska. Northway is located on the east bank of Nabesna Slough, 50 miles SE of Tok. It is 42 miles from the Canadian border in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

By Sunday evening the fire had grown to 9,000 acres and soon burned into the Moose Creek fire which had started on Friday. As of yesterday, (6/25) the fireline was reinforced on the north end of the fire to protect the community of Northway. With cooler temperatures and continued progress on fire lines, the threat to the community will be reduced. The fire is burning adjacent to the town of Northway. Total acreage on these fires is 17,100 acres.

On June 26, a base camp of operation was established at the Pogo Mine. A squad was deployed to clear around and set-up cabin protection. One or two squads will be deployed on a daily basis to work on values at risks. For safety purposes personnel will be pulled back to base camp each night.

Iditarod River:
The Iditarod River fire began on June 20. It is located 2.5 miles north of the ghost town of Iditarod, Alaska.

As of June 27, fire personnel completed their burnout operation, and secured a line around Iditarod. The crew continued to set up sprinklers, work on reducing fuels, and began a burn out operation around the town of Flat, a small town about 7 miles southeast of Iditarod.
Tetlin Hills:
The Tetlin Hills fire is located 8 miles SE of Tok, Alaska. Tok is located at the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Tok Cutoff to the Glenn Highway, 200 miles southeast of Fairbanks. It is called the "Gateway to Alaska," as it is the first major community upon entering Alaska, 93 miles from the Canadian border.

This lightning caused fire started on June 20, and was 1,300 acres until the afternoon of June 26 when high winds caused the fire to go from minimal to extreme fire behavior in about 10 minutes. Winds were extreme with gusts to 40 mph causing the fire to increase to about 1,800 acres. The fire received assistance from 4 water scoopers, 2 Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, and four heavy air tankers dropping retardant along the perimeter of the active fire. The increase in acres was held to an additional 500.
June Creek: Note: for those interested in this fire it is now managed by the Rex Complex of fires and you can check information on it at the Rex Complex inciweb page.
The Baker fire is located 8 miles NE of Manley Hot Springs, at the end of the Elliott Highway. The fire is between Manley Hot Springs and the community of Eureka, AK.

This lightning caused fire is currently 5,493 acres and began on June 21. 20 residences in the Baker Subdivision are threatened by this fire. Structure preparation took place in the Baker creek area, including dozer line construction around structures. On June 26, the fire area received light precipitation and more rain is expected today.

Mission Creek:
The Mission Creek fire is located about 5 miles north of Chuathbaluk, AK between the Kuskokwim and Owhat Rivers. The fire was flown by detection aircraft and was reported to have made a significant run of 1500 acres, pushing it 2 miles away from Chuathbaluk. 10 smokejumpers were dropped into the town. A hotshot crew was mobilized into Aniak late in the evening, and were shuttled into Chuathbaluk on June 25, to assist with site protection. On June 26, the fire exhibited very minimal behavior, with occasional backing towards the town. Flathead Hot Shot crew was mobilized into place, and crews continued to prep structures and conduct hose lay around the town. Plans consist of eventually doing a burnout if the weather allows.
North Aniak:
The fire is located about 7 miles NE of the city of Aniak, AK. Aniak is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of Aniak Slough. It lies 92 miles NE of Bethel, AK and 317 miles west of Anchorage.

This lightning caused fire began on June 22 and is currently 19,000 acres. Current information as of June 26 - The fire has bumped up against the river and two crews are currently in place. Fire personnel continued to assess Aniak, and worked towards their goal of establishing site protection to the community.

The fire's command and operations staff met with the community of Aniak to discuss future plans, and listen to their concerns. The biggest concern is multiple structures across the river from the town, that are in a direct path with the fire. Plans for tomorrow will consist of continuing to prep the town of Aniak, as well as fly to the structures across the river and start plumbing those for protection. A recon flight happened yesterday morning (6/26) and the fire was moderately active, but made significant growth yesterday evening.

Mission Creek Fire:
The fire exhibited very minimal fire behavior, with occasional backing towards the town. Flathead IHC was mobilized into place, and crews continued to prep structures and conduct hose lay around the town. Plans consist of eventually doing a burnout if the weather allows.

Red Devil:

The Red Devil fire is located 2 miles from the village of Red Devil on the Kuskokwim River. This lightning caused fire began on June 25.

The fire was reported at 0330 by a local resident of Red Devil to be ½ mile away from town, and being pushed towards them. All locals were contacted and aware of the fire, and had an evacuation plan set in place. By 0900 the fire had subsided, and was still the same distance away from the town. 2 personnel boated from Crooked Creek to assess the fire and determine what kind of action would be best suited to take place. Tankers dropped one load of retardant on the south side of the village. No evacuation took place, and the fire was monitored throughout the night. Today fire personnel will be providing structure protection throughout Red Devil.

Goodpastor Valley:

The Goodpastor Valley fire is located about 32 miles northeast of the junction of the Alaska and Richardson Highways at Delta Junction, AK
This lightning caused fire is about 1,200 acres. The Pogo Mine fire department did some bucket work to slow fire growth towards the the mine. Some running and isolated torching was observed.

Statewide Fire Summary:
9 new fires with 2,615 acres burned
38 staffed fires with 459,362 acres burned
272 monitored fires with 711,035 acres burned


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