Alaska Fire Service - Military Zone
Bureau of Land Management
Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703, AK
DELTA JUNCTION, Alaska – After a day of cooler, calmer weather and minimal fire activity on Wednesday, the team assigned to the Oregon Lakes Fire is busy planning for another round of warmer, windier weather forecasted Friday.
Cooler temperatures, clouds and even light precipitation moved in over the Oregon Lakes Fire Wednesday, subduing the already moderate fire activity to smoldering along some of its edges. There were only a few puffs of smoke visible, mostly on the southern end, where the fire reached the green timber line and settled down. The timber, which is predominately white spruce with some birch, has been resistant to burning unlike the downed trees from a 2013 fire and dry grass. However, that could change as the summer continues and the warmer, windier weather that typically persists in the Delta River drainage.
Due to better mapping, the number of acres burned reduced to 5,633.
The National Weather Service predicted near red flag conditions to develop on Friday. Warmer and drier conditions with relative humidities in the mid-20s are expected to develop this afternoon. Winds are expected to remain light today but will increase tomorrow as a strong front approaches the fire from the south. Southerly winds will increase to 20-30 mph range with gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon. Minimum relative humidity will drop to around 25-30 percent, which is just above the red flag criteria. The fire is still in monitor status while it burns in the military impact area about miles southwest of Delta Junction. As long as conditions allow, members of the Alaska Incident Management Team plan to fly over the fire area twice a day, once in the morning and another flight in the evening when activity typically picks up. Yesterday, members were able to get a third flight in to gather information such as fuel types and potential natural barriers to develop a long-term plan for managing this large early-season fire. Because the fire is burning in the Delta River drainage with weather patterns that could cause the Oregon Lakes Fire to persist throughout the summer, 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 develop this long-term plan.
Meanwhile, the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Fire Crew remains on standby in Delta Junction, ready for the possibility of taking action if the fire burns outside the military impact area, or if needed for new fire ignitions in the area.
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 downed trees from the 2013 Mississippi Fire and tall, dry grass on the west side of the braided Delta River. It burned in a limited protection area which typically means the fire will be left to function in its normal ecological role unless it threatens any structures or resources. It is not immediately threatening any private property, military infrastructure or State of Alaska timber lands. The community of Whitestone, which was threatened by the 2013 Mississippi Fire, is roughly 14 miles to the north and the timber area is about 7 miles to the northeast. Both are on the west side of the Delta River.