Alaska Fire Service - Military Zone
Bureau of Land Management
Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703, AK
After three days of low activity, winds increased and pushed smoke into neighboring communities as the Oregon Lakes Fire burned untouched pockets of fuel in the interior and on its southern end this afternoon. Members of the Alaska Type 2 IMT, who took over management of the fire this morning, reported no fire growth to the north, west and east after a late afternoon helicopter flight. The fire is estimated at 6,745 acres, a slight increase from previous days. The fire was moderately backing and flanking on the on the south and southwest flank of the fire. The northeast corner, the only section of the fire that remained active in the past three days, continued to smolder.
Meanwhile, the Alaska Division of Forestry White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Fire Crew arrived in Delta Junction in preparation for the uptick in fire activity and the possibility of taking action if the fire burned outside a military impact area. This is familiar territory for the White Mountain Crew. They had worked on the Mississippi Fire in 2013 and the 100 Mile Creek Fire in 2014. Part of the crew’s preparation was a briefing by U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Range Control personnel on the risk of unexploded ordinances in the area. Range Control gives this briefing to all firefighting personnel regardless if it’s a scheduled prescribed burn operation or a wildfire in military training areas. There are a total of 52 firefighting personnel assigned to the fire.
This remote fire was reported at about 1 p.m. on April 30 and so far, has been burning in an area that is unsafe for firefighters and low-flying fire suppression aircraft due to the likelihood of unexploded ordinance on the ground. It is burning mostly in tall, dry grass and downed trees from the 2013 Mississippi Fire on the west side of the braided Delta River. It burned in a limited protection area 11 miles southwest of Delta Junction and is not immediately threatening any structures, military targets or valuable resources. However, because it is burning in the Delta River drainage with known challenging weather patterns that could cause the fire to persist throughout the summer, the team was activated to come up with short- and long-term plans to launch suppression tactics once the fire moves out of the military impact areas. The IMT is working with the BLM Alaska Fire Service Military Fire Management Zone, the U.S. Army Alaska Garrison, the BLM Eastern Interior Field Office and the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF) to determine the best course of action, especially with the forecasted warm and windy weather. The fire could grow to the north and threaten State of Alaska timber values along the Delta River and Delta Creek. It would need to first cross a shear blade line that was constructed as a fuel break in recent years. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Firefighting personnel assigned to fire: 52 Acres: 6,745 Estimated cost to date: $115,990 For more information, subscribe to updates on akfireinfo.com or follow BLM Alaska Fire Service on Facebook (@BLMAFS) and Twitter (@BLM_AFS).