(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – Firefighters continue to gain ground, closing the gap in the western containment line and constructing line on other parts of the Isom Creek Fire (#187). The La Grande Hotshots (U.S. Forest Service, Oregon) are joining crews today cutting line on the rugged south and east perimeter. There are nine hand crews working on the fire; some are conducting a methodical search for hotspots within the burned area. Pockets of fuel are actively burning within the perimeter, generating smoke as temperatures and winds increase in the afternoon.
Cool overnight temperatures with high humidity have slowed fire progress, but also make conditions unfavorable for burnout operations. Eliminating patches of unburned vegetation is important to reduce potential for reignition by wind gusts and spotting outside the fireline. As summer solstice approaches, the prolonged sunlight and warm temperatures typically dry vegetation throughout Interior Alaska, creating conditions for easy ignition.
Crews are using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) for fireline construction within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. These tactics recognize the potential environmental, cultural, and social long-term impacts of suppression, deploying the minimum tools necessary to effectively achieve fire management and resource management objectives. Hand line construction techniques are implemented, with no use of mechanized equipment. Cutting trees and snags is minimized, unless they threaten the fireline or pose hazards for crews. Refuge managers granted approval to use a water-enhancing fire suppression additive and/or retardant to support the east-side operations if activity increases again.
The Dalton Highway remains open to travel, with traffic control as needed for smoke conditions or in support of firefighting efforts. Drivers need to use extreme caution between mileposts 34-62 by driving slowly with headlights on. Be prepared for low visibility, firefighting personnel and equipment along the roadway. Do not stop on the highway. Please use turnouts outside of mileposts 34-62.
The Yukon River Camp north of the Yukon River Bridge at milepost 56 is open for food, fuel and lodging. The fire reached the Trans-Alaska Pipeline; however, it is not damaged as it was designed to withstand wildfires. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in place over the fire and some of the surrounding area to provide a safe operating environment for firefighting aircraft. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for more information on the TFR.
Public Information: (907) 356-5970 Email: 2020.IsomCreek@firenet.gov