Fires On Parks Highway & Near Fairbanks Threaten Evacuations On July 29th, 2023

  Evacuation orders in place for Denali and Fairbanks North Star Boroughs as fire activity increases in the Interior  BY  ALASKA DIVISION OF...

 

Evacuation orders in place for Denali and Fairbanks North Star Boroughs as fire activity increases in the Interior 

Map of State of Alaska, Division of Forestry & Fire Protection fires in the Alaskan Interior. To download a pdf of the map, click here. For a map of all active fires statewide, go to https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/index.html#/a23a625f4d18412ea13cffeefcbe7f5e. 

There were 11 new fires Friday, seven in Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection response area and four in BLM Alaska Fire Service response area. There were 819 lightning strikes recorded Friday, considerably less than the previous multiple thousands each day. Warm temperatures along with winds increased fire activity across the Interior. The Teklanika River (#257) and McCoy Creek (#201) fires began advancing towards structures. Firefighters were repositioned to structure protection and were supported by retardant tankers and Fire Bosses who transitioned from each of the fires as they were needed. DOF personnel and engines are being repositioned from areas south of the Alaska Range to strengthen capacity in the Interior.  

A GO! evacuation alert was issued late Friday afternoon by the Fairbanks North Star Borough for residents of the Lower Salcha River, approximately from river mile 3 to 40. The Middle Salcha was placed under a Set status, approximately river mile 40 to 61. The Denali Borough issued a Set status for the residents of Anderson and those living west of the Parks Highway between Mile 270 and the Rex Bridge because of the Teklanika fire and the new start off the highway near Kobe Road. Kobe Road is the only access and escape route for the Kobe agriculture project.  

The Type 2 Great Basin Incident Management Team 3 was in-briefed Saturday morning in Anderson to assume command of the Teklanika River Fire and several of the new starts in the area. The Anderson Complex will include #257 Teklanika River, #297 Kobe Road, #285 Birch Creek, #288 Nenana River, and #289 Nenana River 2.  

Fire activity also picked up on fires around the Pogo Mine, its access road and power lines. Firefighters assisted by aerial assets defended the road and power lines.   

NEW FIRES AS OF FRIDAY, JULY 28

Kobe Road (#297) – [ 100 acres] West of Mile 272.5 Parks Highway. Helicopter reconnaissance spotted a new fire off Kobe Road near Mile 272.5 Parks Highway. Multiple DOF engines responded along with a water dropping helicopter.   

Mansfield Creek (#295) – [ 1 acre] 7 Miles east of Mile 1351 Alaska Highway. Helicopter reconnaissance spotted a new fire near Mansfield Creek estimated to be 1 acre burning in black spruce with single tree torching. Aerial reconnaissance later in the day and reported fire activity has moderated with no flame lengths.  

Mineral Lake (#294) – [ 0.2 acres] East of Mile 89.5 Tok Cutoff Highway. Helicopter reconnaissance spotted a new fire estimated to be 1 acre in black spruce. Air Attack flew the incident while Fire Bosses and water dropping helicopters suppressed the incident with water drops.  

Mosquito Creek (#290) – [ 3 acres] 5 miles east of Harding Lake. Helicopter reconnaissance flew the incident estimating it to be roughly 2-3 acres. Air Attack flew the incident while a helicopter completed multiple bucket drops.  

STAFFED FIRES 

Teklankika River Fire (#257) – [ 2,356.5 acres] 4.5 miles northwest of Anderson. Midnight Sun Hotshots arrived on the fire Friday and were shuttled to the fire by helicopter.  Two helicopters continued suppressing the incident with multiple bucket drops with assistance from retardant tankers T-542 and T-544 and supervision from Air Attack. Wind shifted to the north in the afternoon, moving the fire towards cabins along the Teklanika River. The fire spotted across the river.  

This is a satellite image map shows the location of the Teklanika River Fire outside of Anderson, Alaska.
This map shows the perimeter of the Teklanika River Fire burning 6-miles northwest of Anderson. The Teklanika fire is being combined into the Anderson Complex with fires #288-Nenana River, #289-Nenana River 2 shown on this map. Also in the complex but not shown in this view are #297-Kobe Road and #285-Birch Creek. To download a pdf type file, click here.

Sargent Creek (#255) – [ 33.6 acres] 3 miles west of Mile 7 Elliot Highway. Crews and DOF personnel continued with fire suppression. By evening the fire activity was moderate with creeping and smoldering.  

McCoy Creek (#201) – [ 167.6 acres] River mile 29 Salcha River. Fire activity picked up considerably in the afternoon with warm temperatures and a change in wind direction causing several cabins to be threatened. White Mountain and Fairbanks 1 Crews were moved from building line direct along the fire in the afternoon as fire activity picked up. They were moved by boat and helicopter to set up structure protection along the Salcha River. Additional Smokejumpers were deployed to the fire to assist in cabin protection. Air Attack coordinated Fire Bosses, retardant tankers and water dropping helicopters to slow the fire’s advance. Several boats also assisted with transporting structure protection equipment, supplies, and personnel. A GO! evacuation alert was issued late Friday afternoon by the Fairbanks North Star Borough for residents of the Lower Salcha River, approximately from river mile 3 to 40. The Middle Salcha was placed under a Set status, approximately river mile 40 to 61. 

Map of the McCoy Creek Fire (#201) and surrounding area including the areas under GO!, SET, and READY evacuation notices from the Fairbanks Northstar Borough. For a downloadable pdf of the map, click here.

Pogo Mine Road (#191) – [ 8,500 acres] 9 miles down Pogo Road. Tanana Chiefs Crew and DOF personnel continued burn operations on 9-mile Pogo Road, working east and west between 10-mile to near 8-mile until weather conditions changed and burn operations were stopped. A change in the wind started the main fire moving towards the road and power lines. Dozers were used to protect the power line but the fire did cross over the road.


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