Interior Alaska Wild Fire Update: July 19
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Interior Alaska wild fire update for Tuesday, July 19, 2022. With the continued moderation of fire weather and demobilization of resources including crews and aircraft, the Alaska Multi-Agency Coordinating Group downgraded the Fire Preparedness Level to 3 at 7 a.m. on Tuesday July 19.
Currently there are 528 active fires burning in Alaska with 1,582 personnel assigned. As of Tuesday morning, 2,994,841 acres have burned in the state.
The Emergency Burn Ban that was issued on July 1 has been lifted for most places in the state.
On Monday, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Fairbanks District and Glennallen Field Office rescinded the fire prevention orders temporarily prohibited open fires on the BLM-managed public lands in eastern and central Alaska. Only one fire prevention order remains in place for BLM Alaska.
The Fairbanks area Fire Prevention Order AK020-22-001 issued for the Gilmore Trail and Gold Run Creek area will remain in place until it expires on October 31, 2022. This is due to on-going concerns for protecting residential areas and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility. More information can be found online at BLM Fire Orders.
Little Chena River Fire
The Little Chena River Fire was started by lightening and burning approximately 11 miles northeast of the Fort Knox mine and 19 miles northeast of Fox. Recent rainfall has helped the fire activity on this fire. After showing minimal activity and no growth over the weekend, the Little Chena River Fire is reported as contained. Demobilization efforts began on Monday, July 18.
Minto Lakes Fire
The recent rain and humidity have helped weaken the Minto Lakes fire. More rain is expected over the next few days.
The Minto Lakes fire has burned 37,554 acres as of Tuesday morning, July 19 and is 53 percent contained. The fire has seen little activity due to the recent rain and has been downgraded from a Type 1 to a Type 3 fire. The Type One Management Team has begun to transition off the fire and brings the staff to 110 personnel.
The evacuation level has also been downgraded for the Chatanika River Corridor to a level 1 (Ready) Status.
Alaska Fire Info states, “The areas of heat left in the deep duff still require significant wetting rain to be fully extinguished. Back hauling of unneeded equipment is expected to be completed today. Repair work has been finished in many areas of the fire and crews will continue working to complete it.”
Heavy equipment is repairing the dozer line that was put in place to protect the communities east of the fire. Structure preparation work has been completed, among the communities of Himilaya and Hayes Creek. Structure protection plans for the Murphy Dome area west of the Himilaya and Hayes Creek area are completed and ready for use if needed.
As of July 1, 2022, the Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has closed public access to the western portion of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. This is a temporary closure and is due to the ongoing fire activity associated with the Minto Lakes Fire. BLM will refund cabin reservations during the temporary closure. For more information, visit https://akfireinfo.com/ or call the Fairbanks District Office at 907-474-2200.
The closure includes trails, public use cabins, trail shelters and the Wickersham Dome Trailhead (mile 28 Elliott Highway), which may be used as a base camp for firefighters nearby.
Closed BLM trails:
- Wickersham Creek Trail
- Trail Creek Trail
- Moose Creek Trail
- Summit Trail
Closed BLM public use cabins and shelters:
- Lee’s Cabin
- Eleazar’s Cabin
- Summit Trail Shelter
- Moose Creek Cabin
- Wickersham Creek Trail Shelter
Recent rains have significantly dampened fire activity on the Clear Fire, allowing fire crews to reach 56 percent completion of suppression goals. As of Tuesday, the fire has burned 72,157 acres and has a response team of 485 personnel.
According to Alaska Fire Info, “As the access to burned and/or remote areas of the fire increases, collaboration with Denali Borough Emergency Management continues regarding damage assessments. Team members are coordinating with officials from the Clear Space Force Installation. The efforts on the ground are deliberate, methodical, and thorough to ensure incident objectives are being met safely and risk is managed appropriately.”
The recent rain has helped reduce the fire behavior causing creeping and smoldering throughout the entire fire area. While the rain is a welcome sight, it will take substantial amounts of wet rain to decrease the overall fire danger. The extended forecast shows continued cloudy and cool temperatures through the weekend.
The following information update is provided courtesy of Alaska Fire Info.
Fire crews are mopping up around structures in the Kobe Ag, Anderson, and Quota subdivisions and are repairing damages to minimize soil erosion and impacts from fire suppression activities. On the southern edge of the fire, firefighters are utilizing heavy equipment to access adverse terrain near the homesteads and Native allotments. Crews are completing access routes to the fire’s edge to facilitate fire suppression actions around structures, and continuing recon on the ground with assistance from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The Teklanika River acts as a natural protectant from the west side of the fire and helps prevent the fire from spreading. Crews continue to look for hotspots along the north side of the fire and provide point-protection to structures along the Teklanika River.
For more information on sheltering or evacuations visit the Denali Borough Facebook page or contact the Denali Borough at (907) 683-1330.
Bean Complex Fires
As of Tuesday, July 19, total acreage burned for the Bean Complex is 193,688. There are 265 resources assigned to these fires.
Fire activity remains minimal as partly cloudy, dry, and windy conditions moved across the Bean Complex on Monday, July 18. Drier conditions are expected over the next few days, which will allow smoldering above and below ground. If heat continues this could cause hot spots to continue to burn and increase fire activity.
Fires that are or have been part of the Bean complex:
564 Cosna Bluff (formerly on Dalton) is located 19 miles southwest of Manley Hot Springs. Fire crews have completed suppression on the Cosna Bluff fire within the Complex.
561 Elephant Fire is located 6 miles northeast of Eureka. Fire crews have completed suppression on the Elephant and Cosna Bluff fires within the Complex. As of Tuesday, July 19 the Elephant fire is contained and unstaffed.
Rock 366 Oval (merged) is located 6 miles north of Eureka. It is unstaffed and in monitor status.
348 Allen 343 Dragon (merged)
310 Tanana River Fire is located about 14 miles southeast of Manley Hot Springs and north of the Tanana River. Crews have established structure protection for approximately 58 structures and four Native allotments. 24,751 acres have burned.
327 Hutlinana Fire is north of the Tanana River and roughly 10 miles east of Manley Hot Springs. It remains at 90 percent contained and has burned 407 acres. It is unstaffed and in monitor status.
315 Chitanana Fire is located south of the Tanana River, approximately 21 miles southeast of Tanana and 24 miles southwest of Manley Hot Springs. The fire has nearly burned 100,000 acres. Resources continue to work on suppression efforts alongside structure protection. 99,040 acres have burned.
312 Bitzshitini is located about 23 miles southwest of Manley Hot Springs and south of the Tanana River. Firefighters have completed protection measures for structures. The fire is unstaffed and in air patrol status. 69,359 acres have burned.
181 Omega Creek
According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), “Fire protection is under the Alaska Fire Service for fires burning along the Tanana Valley west of Fairbanks to the Cosna River.” The fires are burning primarily in black spruce, most in areas with no record of fire in the past 50 years.
Middle Fork Fire
As of Thursday, June 30, the Middle Fork Fire has burned approximately 1000 acres. It is located to the east of mile marker 44 on the Chena Hot Springs Road.
Alaska DNR - Division of Forestry reports the following recreational areas are temporarily closed to the public:
- Red Squirrel Campground (Mile 43)
- Mile 45.5 Pond
- Mile 48 Pond
- North Fork Cabin (state public use cabin)
- Hunt Memorial Cabin (state public use cabin)
Granite Tors Trailhead and Campground and Angel Rocks Trails are not closed at this time.
Middle Tanana Complex Fires
The Middle Tanana Complex is comprised of nine fires started by lightning which are located close to Delta Junction. As of Tuesday morning, July 19 , total acreage burned is 60,861 acres.
Because of the recent rain, cool temperatures and relative humidity, fire activity is low for the Middle Tanana Complex.
As of Monday, July 18 all fires within the Middle Tanana Complex are unstaffed.
According to Alaska Wildfire Info, “Crews conducted a ground reconnaissance east of Big Delta to monitor the smoke activity on the South Fork Fire. Reconnaissance flights will take place Tuesday, to make assessments on structures near the Porcupine Fire and to monitor fire activity on the South Fork Fire.”
Some resources will be reduced during the next few days with select crews remaining on site to respond if needed. “Removal of hoses, pumps, sprinklers and other equipment will stay in place until fires have received a significant amount of rain to breach the permafrost and be considered a season ending event,” says Alaska Wildfire Info.
Evacuations: Current evacuations in place are for a READY status only. This covers residents and cabins throughout the following areas: Salcha, Goodpaster, Shaw Creek, Central Creek and the Pogo Mine area.
For the most up to date information, visit https://tinyurl.com/FNSBEvacMap for details about evacuations within the North Star Borough.
This Complex is comprised of the following fires:
Gold Hub Fire (#455)
Gilles Creek (#460)
#295 Central Creek Airstrip Fire
#296 Yukon Creek Fire
#375 Porcupine Creek Fire
#420 Marshall Mountain Fire
#427 South Fork Fire
#437 Central Creek Fire
#472 California Creek Fire
Dalton Highway Complex Fires
The Dalton Highway Complex is comprised of more than seven fires that were started by lightning. Total acreage of all fires burning in the Dalton Highway Complex is 89,102 acres as of Tuesday, July 18. Currently there are 220 firefighting personnel working on these fires.
While the wet weather has helped out, the Fort Hamlin Hills Fire is spreading closer to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, where efforts are now being focused.
Crews are preparing structure protection plans for Rampart. The Idaho Bar Fire is four and a half miles southeast of Rampart. The Huron Fire is located between Rampart and the Dalton Highway, and the Troublesome fire is located eleven and a half miles east of Rampart.
Three fires on the Dalton Highway Complex, the Montana Gulch Fire, the Tozitna Fire, and the Cosna Bluff Fire have been declared contained.
The most active fires in the complex are:
· Curky Fire (#318): 28,961 acres, located 4.5 miles west of MP 84 on the Dalton highway
· Douglas Fire (#336): 23,124 acres, located on both sides of the Dalton Highway between MP 141 and MP 149
· Fort Hamlin Hills Fire (#562): 615 acres, located between MP70 and MP73 on the Dalton Highway
· Huron Fire (#372): 18,822 acres, located between Rampart and the Dalton Highway
· Idaho Bar Fire (#555): 112 acres, located 4.5 miles southeast of Rampart
· MM 125 Fire (#441): 2,986 acres, located between MP 121 and MP 125 on the Dalton Highway
· Troublesome Fire (#359): 13,282 acres, located 11.5 miles east of Rampart
The recent rain and cooler temperatures have helped fire activity within the Dalton Highway Complex. However, more rain and continued cooler temps are needed as continued above ground and below ground hotspots are smoldering throughout the complex.
The Arctic Circle Campground remains closed due to area firefighting activity. Note, the Arctic Circle Wayside is open.
Driving with headlights on is required on the Dalton Highway. Depending on wind direction, increased smoke activity can be expected and impact a driver’s ability to see. Use extreme caution. Pulling off on the shoulder of the highway to stop is not advised and is a danger to drivers and firefighters.
Copyright 2022 KTVF. All rights reserved.