lime complex – 18 of the nearly 50 lightning-caused wildfires burning in southwest Alaska have been named Lime Complex. The Alaska Interagency Type 2 Black Incident Management Team took command of a geographic cluster of wildfires at 8 a.m. this morning. So vast is the landscape of Southwest Alaska that the Black Team manages only a portion, even at 40 million acres, of the landscape ravaged by fires following the June 6 lightning event. The McGrath Area Office continues to manage several fires of significance in the Dillingham area, including the Fire of the Iowithla River (#237)burning 10 miles east of Dillingham and the Submarine Creek Fire (#220)burning 45 miles west of Telida.
Due to the vastness of this area, many of these fires are not subject to Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR). However, a significant number of aircraft, including fixed-wing observation decks, general logistics aircraft and helicopters dropping personnel, supplies and water, will be deployed throughout Southwest Alaska. We ask general aviation pilots and the public to keep an eye on this increase in aircraft in the region. And as a reminder for drone pilots: “If you fly, we can’t”.
The highest priority for all firefighters is to defend villages, lodges, shacks, indigenous allotments, mining infrastructure and other vulnerable assets. Teamwork and coordination of logistical aircraft to transport fuel, supplies and personnel remains a critical priority. Once firefighters enter these remote areas, the supply chains of fuel, hoses, food and supplies must be maintained. Experienced firefighters will exercise caution to avoid expanding operations beyond the supply chain. Alaska Fire Medics are deployed to strategically remote locations to provide life-saving supplies. The distance between these fires and final care in Anchorage is greater than the “golden hour,” which is the national standard of emergency care. COVID precautions are being taken by all firefighters and local village and tribal COVID protocols are maintained. The villages of Aniak, Sleetmute and Lime Village have or will see logistical, medical and fire personnel and relief supplies arriving over the next few days.
Three logistics specialists are being deployed to the village of Aniak today, and resources have been mobilized from the Lower 48 and Canada to support both the suppression and critical logistical supply efforts. A photo of Alaska Black Team logistics personnel exiting Palmer Airport is attached to this post.
Smoke jumpers deployed after the lightning struck made several saves as seen in the photo taken yesterday. Shown are structures successfully rescued by a small group of smoke jumpers Koktuli River Fire (#240). The Alaska Black IMT will lead interagency efforts to establish and maintain supply chains and remote tank farms for aviation assets, and help identify additional cabins, lodges and other assets at risk.
Aerial observation flights will remain the primary strategy to monitor fire behavior and to prioritize the placement of smoke jumpers, hot shots and fire support personnel. There will be regular updates on fires of significant threat and additional updates when aerial surveillance specialists determine that firefighting action is needed to protect life and property.
Here are updates for several of the 18 fires in the 40 million acre area under Black Team’s management. The full list of fires under Black Team management are 188, 189, 190, 193, 197, 198, 205, 206, 207, 216, 228, 239, 240, 244, 245, 246, 247 and 273. As threats Additional updates on suppression strategies and tactics for them will be shared as stats become increasingly vulnerable.
That Aghaluk Mountain Fire (#206) currently has 37 firefighters and is located 51 miles east of Aniak. The Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew continues structural protection and the remaining 13 members of the Winema Interagency Hotshot Crew were set on fire. Minimal fire activity was observed during Wednesday’s aerial reconnaissance. Structure preparation continues around Sleetmute with a focus on structures on the east bank of the Kuskokwim River.
That Koktuli River Fire (#240) and Pike Creek Fire (#239): Located 23 miles northwest of Lake Iliamna, these two lightning-caused fires burned together a few days ago. Eight firefighters are focusing their efforts on protecting structures and protecting indigenous people along the Koktuli River. The weather was warm and dry yesterday and fire activity was observed during the flight. Boats and a helicopter are in place to support firefighters using a satellite radio while radio repeaters are installed. The total of these fires is approximately 55,483 acres.
That Fire of the Gagaryah River (#197) and the Stony Riverfire (#198) burned together and lie 20 miles southeast of Stony River. The approximate total area is 60,280 acres. There are no enhanced risk scores that are imminently threatened.
That Southern Lime Sea (#190) The fire burns 14 miles northeast of Lime Village and covers an area of approximately 3,101 acres. Air monitors yesterday determined that 30% of the fire perimeter was active and there were no values immediately at risk.
If you would like more information or have information about cabins, lodges or other improvements that you feel firefighters in this area should know about please email [email protected]
Categories: Active Wildland Fire, AK Fire Info, Alaska DNR – Division of Forestry (DOF), Alaska NPS, BLM Alaska Fire Service