Skip to main content

Isom Creek Fire (#187)

Unit Information

Alaska Fire Service - Upper Yukon Zone
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 35005
Fort Wainwright, AK 99703

BLM Shield

This incident is no longer being updated.

Two black and white Karelian bear dogs waiting patiently with equipment in front of a red and white helicopter on the Isom Creek Fire, June 19, 2020.Image options: [ Full Size ]

Unless there is a significant increase in fire activity, this site will not be updated. For Isom Creek Fire information, please visit, call (907) 356-5511, or visit the BLM Alaska Fire Service’s Facebook page. 

The lightning-caused Isom Creek Fire was discovered on Friday, June 5, 2020, during a BLM Alaska Fire Service fire detection flight.  The fire increased in size in the days that followed due to warm, dry conditions, causing the fire to cross the Dalton Highway to the west and reach the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. While the fire reached the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the pipeline itself remained undamaged as it was designed to withstand wildfires. 

The Alaska Type 2 Incident Management Black Team, led by Incident Commander Ed Sanford, assumed command on June 11, 2020, to coordinate efforts to protect Native allotments along the Yukon River and minimize impacts to the Dalton Highway, Trans-Alaska Pipeline corridor and Alyeska Pump Station 6. 

During the Type 2 Team’s assignment, safety personnel piloted the use of the Wind River Bear Institute Karelian bear dogs and their handler as a means to mitigate bear intrusions into fire camps. This strategy proved to be a successful tactic for mitigating human-bear conflict and it was the first time that these professionally-trained dogs have been used on an Alaskan wildland fire incident. 

On June 22, 2020, command was transferred to a smaller Type 3 organization, led by Incident Commander Kay Kudo. This change was made after a period of cooler, wetter conditions moderated fire behavior. The current situation prohibits burnout operations until warm, dry weather returns. Until burnout is completed or a more direct line is developed and secured, the eastern edge of the fire will remain a threat for potential spread. 

The Dalton Highway remains open. Travelers are asked to stay alert as conditions on the fire could change as the weather becomes warm and dry. Drivers are asked to use caution by driving slowly with headlights on, especially in areas of low visibility. Watch for firefighting personnel and traffic along the road.  The Yukon River Camp at MP 56, north of the Yukon River Bridge, remains open to provide services for food, fuel and lodging. 

Pilots are advised to check NOTAMS and be aware of any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in place over the fire by visiting for additional information.         

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginFriday June 05th, 2020 approx. 03:15 PM
Location17 miles southwest of Stevens Village
Incident CommanderEd Sanford
Coordinates65.854 latitude, -149.579 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel249
Size12,180 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained69%
Fuels Involved

Timber (grass and understory)

Brush (2 feet)

Smoldering in the interior of the burn.

Significant Events

Observed fire behavior:




Planned Actions

Continue to mop up, patrol, and secure the southern and western edges along the Dalton Highway, Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Hovercraft Road.

Fire has received precipitation over the past 24 hours, fuels are not available for burnout. Evaluate options for direct line or hot-spotting tactics on the eastern edge.

Some crews will continue to spike out in the field to minimize travel times for work on the eastern flank.

Boat operations will continue on the Yukon River to support line operations and patrol previously burned areas.

A Type 3 organization under the command of Kay Kudo will shadow the Black Team and prepare for a 0700 Monday 6/22 transfer of command.

The Suppression Repair Plan will be ready for approval.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours: No growth and reduced heat found. No additional growth expected.

24 hours: Clouds, humid conditions and rain coming in to limit fire growth potential.

48 hours: Overnight rain expected to limit fire growth.

72 hours: Residual showers, cloud cover and wet conditions will limit fire growth.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Observed weather on June 20: It was a cool and very moist day today on the fire. Cells stayed well to the South and the sky cover was broken or overcast. Dense fog along the Dalton Highway on the fire perimeter disrupted traffic, but simultaneously there were gusts to 18 mph at the Seven Mile Remote Automated Weather Station. Temperatures were in the mids 60s with RH values 70 to 80%. The weather will be nearly the same on Sunday which in a word is moist. Look for very slight daytime drying, but also a pretty good chance for wetting rain Sunday night.