Thread: Alaska Wildfire

  1. #1
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    Post Alaska Wildfire

    AP-WA--Alaska Wildfires

    Fire threatens lodge near Chena Hot Springs

    (Anchorage-AP) -- Firefighters are battling to keep a wildfire
    from consuming an Alaska lodge.
    Pete Buist of the Alaska Forestry Division says the fire has
    burned more than 76-hundred acres and destroyed three cabins but
    there's still a chance of saving the building.
    The blaze crossed the Chena River yesterday (Saturday) despite
    major efforts by firefighting crews.
    Another fire near Livengood Alaska has sent heavy smoke over the
    Minto Flats and the Parks Highway as well. Officials say that fire
    has damaged about 63-hundred acres.
    Further south, firefighters were cleaning up a fire that nearly
    blew up into a major blaze threatening the town of Anderson.
    A wildfire near McGrath was up to 10-thousand acres, but
    officials say the danger of that fire reaching any structures was
    considered low.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
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    Post 5/27/2003

    2003 season
    ---------------------------------------------
    ANCHORAGE (AP) - Firefighters and smokejumpers were racing
    against strong winds Monday that were pushing a wildfire toward an
    Anderson subdivision, state fire officials said.
    The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 4 miles from the
    structures, said Pete Buist with the Alaska Division of Forestry.
    Winds as fast as 20 mph were fueling the blaze - dubbed the Rex
    Ridge fire.
    Firefighters dropped retardant and buckets of water on the
    burning area, but about 400 acres had burned by 5 p.m. Monday,
    according to Buist. He said the fire was running and spotting
    through black spruce in an area where the Parks Highway crosses the
    Nenana River.
    "The Tanana Valley is like a wind tunnel right now," Buist
    said.
    The cause of the fire was unknown, but Buist said there had been
    no reports of lighting in the area.

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    Post June 22nd

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A fire near Delta Junction burned south
    Saturday past Sand Creek and toward cabins on the lower Goodpaster
    River.
    Firefighters had hoped to stop the fire at the creek but were
    unsuccessful because of warm, dry weather. Six crews have been
    assigned to the lightning-caused fire, which began June 14 about 25
    miles northeast of Delta Junction.
    By Sunday, it had burned approximately 30,000 acres, spreading
    toward cabins on the South Fort and Central Creek. Low levels on
    the Goodpaster River were hampering efforts to move firefighters
    and equipment.
    On Friday, firefighters helped area cabin owners protect their
    properties, setting up sprinkler systems, clearing brush and
    preparing for a possible burnout.
    About 150 miles northwest, a fire that crossed the trans-Alaska
    oil pipeline and the Dalton Highway grew substantially on Saturday.
    The blaze, called the Erickson Creek fire, grew 9,700 acres to
    reach 13,700 acres, fire officials said.
    The fire, which was started Tuesday by lightning north of
    Livengood, spotted across Hess Creek to the north and burned to the
    east and southwest, with flames shooting 100 feet into the air.
    The fire moved across the pipeline Thursday night, but fire and
    pipeline officials said there was no danger to the line.
    Elsewhere, eight crews continued to put out hot spots at the
    1,500-acre Albert Creek fire near Central. Firefighters also were
    restoring dozer lines around the blaze, which was fully contained
    Thursday night.
    Fire officials said temporary flight restrictions over the Sand
    Creek and Albert Creek fires were in place. They urged pilots to
    stay out of those areas.
    Officials also urged motorists to keep their headlights on and
    be careful while driving through the area of the Erickson Creek
    fire where it crossed the Dalton Highway at milepost 21.5.
    Two new fires were reported Saturday to the Alaska Interagency
    Coordination Center. Those small fires in the Fairbanks and Delta
    areas were contained.
    Three of the 22 wildfires burning in Alaska were being fought
    and the others were monitored, officials said.
    So far this year, 312 fires statewide have burned 77,000 acres.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Post June 26th

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Favorable weather conditions continued
    to slow the expansion of large Interior wildfires Wednesday.
    Division of Forestry spokesman Pete Buist said clouds that
    covered much of the Interior on Wednesday made a big difference,
    slowing solar heating and drying of fire fuel.
    "The rate of spread is not nearly as rapid ... when we have
    cloud cover."
    The Sand Creek Fire near the Goodpaster River northeast of Delta
    Junction grew to 41,000 acres Wednesday morning but spent most of
    the day slowly creeping outward on all borders.
    "We haven't had a lot of active running on the fire this
    afternoon," said information officer Paul Slenkamp. The fire is
    "backing" into unburned areas, he said.
    The fire had nearly 200 people working on Tuesday night and more
    crews arrived Wednesday.
    Its slow movement brought the southern edge of the burn to about
    three-quarters of a mile from the nearest cabins on the south fork
    of the Goodpaster River. Crews continued to work at cabin sites,
    clearing out combustibles and installing pumps and sprinklers,
    Slenkamp said.
    The Erickson Creek Fire, which earlier this week closed the
    Dalton Highway, continued to burn in a limited suppression area
    Wednesday. The Dalton Highway is open but smoke continued to cause
    poor visibility.

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    Post June 23rd 2004

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Firefighters plan to burn a mile-wide
    swath of spruce trees in an attempt to halt the rapid spread of two
    large wildfires in the Alaska Interior.
    Dozens of fires continued to blaze Wednesday across Alaska. Fire
    crews were temporarily buoyed by incoming clouds that raised the
    humidity, but by afternoon, the weather had again turned against
    them.
    "We're right back into the hot, dry, windy weather," said fire
    information officer Gary Lehnhausen.
    Eight separate fires burned Wednesday in the Solstice complex in
    northeast of Alaska. The two biggest blazes - the Pingo and Winter
    Trail fires - grew by a combined 29,500 acres by Tuesday night,
    Lehnhausen said.
    A total of 103,000 acres in and around the complex were ablaze
    as of Tuesday night, he said, citing the most current numbers
    available.
    Crews will build fire lines ahead of the Pingo and Winter Trail
    fires, Lehnhausen said. Firefighters plan to burn out black and
    white spruce trees a mile wide, leaving the fires with nothing to
    feed on when they reach those points, he said.
    It will take two or three days to assemble the eight crews and
    gather the resources needed to build the fire lines, he said. The
    community of Venetie lies just 10 miles south of the Pingo fire.
    "There's nothing to indicate that Venetie is going to be
    threatened before that project is completed," Lehnhausen said.
    The Pingo fire is burning on private land owned by the Venetie
    tribe, which has been concerned about protecting timber, fish and
    wildlife.
    Smoke from the wildfires in the upper Yukon Valley, as far south
    as Fairbanks, has created unhealthy air quality for sensitive
    individuals, said the state Department of Environmental
    Conservation's division of air and water quality.
    One firefighter was injured Tuesday night at one of the Solstice
    complex fires when he was filling a chain saw with gasoline and it
    ignited, burning his hands and leg. The firefighter was taken to a
    hospital where he was treated and released.
    The identity of the firefighter was not immediately known
    Wednesday, Lehnhausen said.
    There were 61 fires across the state on Tuesday, according to
    the fire information center. Six new fires were reported Tuesday,
    after more than 700 lightning strikes were recorded.
    "With all the activity building up around the state, it puts a
    strain on the resources," Lehnhausen said.
    Because of extreme smoke and burning conditions, airplanes could
    not reach the American Summit fire, about 13 miles south of Eagle,
    which had burned 10,000 acres.
    The 30,000-acre Chicken fire, in black spruce and tundra, was
    burning 50 miles northeast of Tok. Another fire was spotted near
    Chicken on Tuesday, according to the fire information center.
    The Boundary fire, burning along the Steese Highway northeast of
    Fairbanks, had spread to 17,421 acres.
    ---
    On the Net:
    www.fire.ak.blm.gov

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    Default

    About a month ago, Alaska was screaming for
    tankers. Two DC-6s from Canada Alaska hired
    independent of the USFS (because the USFS
    inevitably fails to meet Alaska requirements)
    are among the grounded.

    No air tanker not on the USFS approved list
    gets to work.

    So the groundpounders do what they can.

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    Post June 24th

    WHITEHORSE (CP) - Residents of a tiny community southeast of
    here were on evacuation alert Thursday as smoke from a nearby
    wildfire threatened to again close part of the Alaska Highway.
    The Swan Lake fire, which moved eight kilometres toward Swift
    River's roughly 50 residents on Wednesday, started across the
    border in British Columbia, south of the Alaska Highway.
    One woman said she'd begun loading essentials into her truck and
    making other preparations should an evacuation be ordered.
    "There is some stuff we are packing in the truck and the other
    stuff will just be ready to go at a moment's notice," said Winnie
    Langille.
    Fire management officials and the Yukon's Emergency Measure
    Organization were sending more resources to the community, about
    200 kilometres southeast of Whitehorse, to protect structures and
    ensure public safety.
    Officials said the fire was relatively quite Thursday with
    mellow northeast winds blowing away from the community. The blaze
    was about three square kilometres in size.
    The fire was pushed across the highway Wednesday, forcing the
    road's closure at Watson Lake to the south and Teslin to the
    north.
    It was reopened at 7 a.m. Thursday, although fire management
    officials said there was a possibility of another closure as
    burning conditions worsened through the day.
    Officials were making arrangements with Watson Lake to host
    evacuees if necessary.
    Ken Colbert, head of the territory's wildland fire management
    team, said a senior B.C. fire management team of 10 or so was to
    arrive this afternoon to assess the Swan Lake fire because it
    started in B.C. territory south of the highway.
    There has been no decision, however, on whether the province
    will take over the fire or whether it will remain under the
    management of the Yukon.

    There were 50 active fires in the Yukon on Thursday, with an
    estimated 1,200 square kilometres burned so far this year.
    The fire situation has exhausted the territory's fleet of
    private helicopters, said Colbert.
    Conditions are expected to remain hot and dry, and more
    lightning with not a lot of precipitation is expected, particularly
    further north, he said.
    Support crews were expected to arrive from Ontario on Thursday.
    As well, six water bombers arrived Wednesday from Alberta to assist
    crews using 12 helicopters to fight fires.
    (Whitehorse Star)


    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Default That's not an Alaska fire. That's a Yukon fire.

    Yukon may lose it's entire telecom capability, yes.

    Whitehorse is in Yukon, not Alaska.

    "CP" is Canadian Press.

    Canada sent the biggest waterbombers it could send
    according to the radio - DC-6s - from Alberta.

    These couldn't knock the fires down.

    One IL-76 waterbomber carries about 4 DC-6 loads at once.

    The IL-76 would be the only tool you could use against that
    wildfire but somebody or something is holding back the IL-76
    and since the US Forest Service appears to be the only authority
    of record, the US Forest Service can take the heat.

    But that doesn't let Canada off the hook, Canada's let itself be
    taken off the hook and is perfectly capable of independently using
    the IL-76 if it wants.
    Last edited by budthespud; 06-25-2004 at 10:45 AM.

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    Default

    Wildfires Strand Alaska Travelers, RVs

    Friday June 25, 2004 7:16 PM


    AP Photo AKAG101

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Wildfires kept 90 miles of highway closed Friday, stranding at least 150 people and dozens of RVs in the tiny mining community of Chicken.

    The community was not believed to be in danger, but it has no land phone lines, so details were limited to occasional radio transmissions from fire crews, said Craig McCaa, a fire information officer in Tok.

    Three fires - fueled by light winds and hot, dry air - prompted the closure of the Taylor Highway on Thursday on both sides of Chicken, a hamlet near the Canadian border with a permanent population of 21.

    Residents, seasonal miners and travelers were trapped, fire officials said.

    ``It is a very dangerous situation right now,'' said fire dispatcher Gene Burke in Tok.

    The biggest of the fires, covering 33,000 acres, was about a mile south of the community but was not kicking up, McCaa said. That blaze was sparked June 15 by two lightning strikes.

    A second fire to the south had burned at least 16,000 acres. The size of the third blaze, about six miles east of Chicken, was unknown.

    So far this year, 298 fires statewide have burned at least 350,654 acres, fire officials said.

    ^---

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    Post

    FOX, Alaska (AP) - Cool, humid weather Sunday helped slow the
    advance of a wildfire that caused the evacuation of hundreds of
    homes and businesses in Alaska's Interior, and forecasters
    predicted wetter weather would soon follow.
    An evacuation order remained in effect Sunday for 277 homes and
    businesses still threatened by the blaze. The fire has spread over
    306,000 acres, up from 280,000 the day before.
    Susan Woods was among the few evacuees allowed to return home as
    much of the heavy smoke blanketing the region about 30 miles north
    of Fairbanks dissipated.
    "To get in my own bed seems more appealing than celebrating the
    Fourth of July," she said before leaving the truck-stop lot that
    had been her temporary home for five days.
    Many residents camped out at the truck stop with their pets.
    Others took their animals - including horses, llamas, reindeer and
    goats - to the fairgrounds in Fairbanks.
    Most displaced by the fire were urged to stay away Sunday,
    though state troopers let some homeowners return to retrieve
    possessions or check on property, fire officials said.
    Firefighters planned to bulldoze and burn out a fire line
    between evacuated areas and the southwestern edge of the fire,
    which has damaged at least one home, fire information officer C.J.
    Norvell said.
    The Alaska Army National Guard dispatched two helicopters
    equipped with 900-gallon buckets that can be used to drop water on
    fires.
    The fire, started June 13 by lightning, is considered 15 percent
    contained, fire officials said. It was the largest of 62 fires
    active in the state on Sunday, and the only one with an evacuation
    order in effect. So far this year, more than 1.8 million acres in
    Alaska have burned.
    Elsewhere, a wildfire about 110 miles northeast of Tucson,
    Ariz., threatened the observatory that is home to the $120 million
    Large Binocular Telescope - one of the world's most powerful
    optical instruments.
    "It's threatened, but I think it's defendable," said Duane
    Archuleta, an operations chief for the fire management team. The
    fire was estimated to be between 10,000 acres and 12,000 acres.
    Firefighters planned to build a protection line around Mount
    Graham International Observatory and reinforce nearby roads that
    will be used as barriers against the blaze.
    The fire, which was caused by lightning, and another 5,254-acre
    fire nearby prompted the evacuation of the observatory and 85
    cabins on the mountain Friday. State officials issued a health
    advisory to protect people in nearby towns from smoke.
    The fires were 2 to 3 miles apart and were expected to join in
    the next couple of days, said Paul Summerfelt, the deputy incident
    commander for the team fighting the smaller blaze.
    ---
    On the Net:
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    www.dnr.state.ak.us/forestry/
    http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/
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    Post July 11th

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Every summer for the past 40 years,
    William Tritt has left his home in remote northern Alaska to find
    work on the fires that devour the state's wildlands.
    Like many rural Alaskans whose villages have few jobs and are
    accessible only by boat or plane, Tritt depends on the money he
    makes during the short fire season to help pay bills the rest of
    the year.
    "It'll help a lot of people, this fire," said Tritt, 57, who
    traveled 290 miles from Arctic Village, population 166, to tend a
    camp for firefighters working on a blaze northeast of Fairbanks.
    It's a little known silver lining to the fires that have burned
    about 2 million acres in Alaska this year - they're also putting
    paychecks in the pockets of hundreds of Alaskans.
    This past week, close to 1,700 people were playing some role in
    battling eight major blazes raging throughout Alaska, said Brett
    Ricker, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Interagency Coordination
    Center at Fort Wainwright.
    Cooks, bulldozer operators, supply workers - the jobs run the
    gamut, and so does the pay, Ricker said. Entry-level firefighters
    make about $14.50 an hour, plus overtime. Some are just called up
    for a couple of weeks at the height of the fire season, but
    firefighters who work steadily throughout the summer can pull in
    more than $18,000, Ricker said.
    They work hard - putting in long hours, with few days off.
    "You live and breathe fire, that's about it," Ricker said.
    Charlotte Mayo, who works at the firefighting camp in Fairbanks,
    said this is her sixth year finding work on the fires.
    "Soon as I started smelling the smoke, I missed it again," she
    said. "I was thinking I was missing out."
    Mayo and more than two dozen others from Allakaket, population
    102, either have jobs on firefighting or support crews, or are
    ready to be called up.
    Fort Yukon, a community of about 575, is serving as the command
    post for a 325,000-acre complex of fires, with the closest about 25
    miles northwest of town.
    The fires have put about 51 Fort Yukon people to work, and
    others are renting out their all-terrain vehicles and boats - the
    federal Bureau of Land Management will pay $63 a day for an ATV
    rental and about $500 a day for a boat, said fire information
    officer Annie Larsen.
    "This is a good opportunity for us right now," said Roberta
    Thomas, who's working in a warehouse supply unit. "There are
    limited jobs available, so when fire season comes around it's a
    good opportunity for men and women."
    Larsen said the agency's policy throughout the country is to
    purchase supplies locally and hire residents when possible for
    firefighting. That saves transportation costs, provides local
    knowledge to those running the operations and helps local
    economies.
    Still, a fat paycheck is sometimes little comfort for those
    fighting the fires.
    Fort Yukon residents worry the fires could endanger relatives,
    damage remote cabins where boats, snowmobiles and hunting and
    fishing gear are stored, and affect wild game they depend on to
    feed their families.
    "It's not the kind of economy that we would like to see, but it
    does help the local people with some of the needed monies," said
    Clarence Alexander, who's working in the communications unit at
    Fort Yukon.
    "Hopefully, it gets under control."
    ---
    On the Net:
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  12. #12
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    Default Alaska

    Associated Press Writer
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Residents of two Yukon River
    communities have been told to gather their belongings and be ready
    to leave if a wildfire burning five miles away moves closer to
    their homes.
    A pre-evacuation advisory has been issued for Eagle, population
    126, and Eagle Village, population 59, two towns near Alaska's
    border with Canada.
    The local airport has been designated a safety zone and the Red
    Cross has set up a shelter in Tok, about 165 miles away, according
    to Gil Knight, a fire information officer with the Alaska
    Interagency Coordination Center at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks.
    "We're trying to give it a two-hour notice - plenty of time to
    move on," Knight said.
    On Tuesday, as warm and dry conditions increased fire activity
    in other parts of the state, cooler temperatures and low, thick
    smoke near Eagle halted the Deer Creek fire's advance on the town,
    Knight said.
    The fire is part of the Eagle complex of fires, which has burned
    about 473,000 acres in northeastern Alaska.
    For days, Eagle residents have been hauling water and clearing
    trees and vegetation around their homes.
    Some said they wouldn't leave their property even if an
    evacuation order came.
    "We're not going to be stupid about it," said Marlys House,
    who owns Falcon Inn Bed and Breakfast. "I think people here have
    been prepared for this situation if it comes to that."
    Mike Sager, owner of Eagle Canoe Rentals, said the air was thick
    with smoke, but with the Yukon River nearby, he didn't see the need
    to leave.
    "I'm not going anywhere," Sager said. "I think they're
    working on evacuation plans, (but) I'm sure a lot of people won't
    leave."
    Fires continued to blaze Tuesday along the Taylor Highway,
    Eagle's only roadway out of town. Fire information officers said
    delays of up to eight hours could be expected.
    Fires have burned about 2.6 million acres in the state this
    year.
    With forecasts for continued dry weather and high temperatures,
    firefighters expect the Interior blazes to keep burning, even
    though the traditional end of the fire season is approaching
    "Historically, this area should have a season-ending weather
    event by July 30. Here we are on the 13th," Knight said. "It's
    not a normal year."
    While firefighters are confident about being able to protect
    homes in the vicinity of the wildfires, the unpredictable winds
    have increased concern for the 1,585 firefighters battling Interior
    blazes.
    "Firefighter safety is our primary concern," said fire
    information officer Frances Reynolds.
    Reynolds said the center expected more "red flag" warnings to
    be issued for the remainder of the week. The National Weather
    Service issues the warnings when conditions are expected to be hot
    and dry with winds gusting up to 30 mph.
    "It is going to be a long week," Reynolds said.
    Meanwhile, in Southern California, firefighters working in
    triple-digit heat battled two wildfires that have charred more than
    8,400 acres of brush and forest and prompted evacuation of dozens
    of homes. No homes had been destroyed, authorities said.
    Three firefighters suffered heat exhaustion Monday as they
    battled a 5,000-acre blaze on the edge of the San Bernardino
    National Forest west of Palm Springs. Two campgrounds were
    evacuated as about 1,000 firefighters, backed by helicopters and
    planes, worked to contain the fire that began Sunday afternoon.
    The blaze was 25 percent contained, but could still threaten the
    mountain communities of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Garner Valley,
    officials said.
    In northern Los Angeles County, a 3,200-acre fire in the Lake
    Hughes area of the Angeles National Forest was 30 percent
    contained. The fire prompted the mandatory evacuation of 10 homes
    in the Happy Valley community shortly after midnight, and about 24
    homes in nearby communities were evacuated voluntarily Monday.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

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    Post July 18th

    By RACHEL D'ORO
    Associated Press Writer
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Taylor Complex fires continued to
    smolder Sunday as crews raced against hot, dry conditions to
    protect cabins northeast of Tok.
    "It's big out there," fire information officer Kris Eriksen
    said of the three fires in the 428,000-acre complex. "We have very
    active burning and extreme fire conditions."
    The largest blaze in the complex, the 209,000-acre Porcupine
    fire northeast of Tok, was creeping south toward cabins scattered
    along the north bank of the Tanana River six to eight miles from
    Tok. A small finger of fire was within a half mile of the river,
    where fire managers were setting up a remote camp for crews
    Saturday.
    "Our main objective is to keep the fire from crossing the
    Tanana," Eriksen said. "We couldn't create dozer lines as wide
    and as wet as that river. It's our best line of defense."
    Other wildfires were burning hotly Sunday elsewhere in the
    Interior, where most of the 107 current blazes in the state are
    located. Fire officials said eight new fires were caused by
    lightning, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.
    By the latest estimates, wildfires have burned close to 3.5
    million acres this summer.
    The 170,000-acre Central Complex fire northeast of Fairbanks
    continued to torch in places, sending up thick columns of smoke,
    said fire information spokesman Ted Pettis. Firefighters worked on
    reinforcing lines to ward off the 44,000-acre Bolgen fire about
    three miles northwest of homes on the outskirts of Circle and six
    miles north of Central.
    "They're also doing sprinkler work around those communities,"
    Pettis said. "We want to soak those areas as much as possible so
    if there's any sparking, hopefully it'll land on wet ground."
    Crews also cleared out charred trees that have fallen across the
    Steese Highway between miles 143 and 149 since the Bolgen fire
    jumped the roadway July 12. The highway remains open, but Pettis
    said motorists can expect intermittent delays on that stretch.
    Closer to Fairbanks, the 421,000-acre Boundary fire was very
    active Saturday, but had calmed Sunday under increased humidity and
    some light rain, said fire information spokeswoman Traci Weaver.
    New aerial infrared mapping showed the Boundary fire had merged
    with the 200,000 Wolf Creek fire to the east.
    "People who live in the area have been really concerned about
    that," Weaver said. "There are a lot of misconceptions that the
    merging could cause all this energy and power. But it's a non issue
    at this point. What burns goes into an area that's already burned -
    just like we use fire to fight fire."
    ---
    On the Net:
    www.dnr.state.ak.us/forestry/
    http://fire.ak.blm.gov/



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  14. #14
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    Post July 19th evening

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Taylor Complex fires continued to
    smolder Sunday as crews raced against hot, dry conditions to
    protect cabins northeast of Tok.
    "It's big out there," fire information officer Kris Eriksen
    said of the three fires in the 428,000-acre complex. "We have very
    active burning and extreme fire conditions."
    The largest blaze in the complex, the 209,000-acre Porcupine
    fire northeast of Tok, was creeping south toward cabins scattered
    along the north bank of the Tanana River six to eight miles from
    Tok. A small finger of fire was within a half mile of the river,
    where fire managers were setting up a remote camp for crews
    Saturday.
    "Our main objective is to keep the fire from crossing the
    Tanana," Eriksen said. "We couldn't create dozer lines as wide
    and as wet as that river. It's our best line of defense."
    Other wildfires were burning hotly Sunday elsewhere in the
    Interior, where most of the 107 current blazes in the state are
    located. Eight new fires were caused by lightning, according to the
    Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.
    By the latest estimates, wildfires have burned close to 3.5
    million acres this summer.
    The 170,000-acre Central Complex fire northeast of Fairbanks
    continued to torch in places, sending up thick columns of smoke,
    said fire information spokesman Ted Pettis. Firefighters worked on
    reinforcing lines to ward off the 44,000-acre Bolgen fire about
    three miles northwest of homes on the outskirts of Circle and six
    miles north of Central.
    "They're also doing sprinkler work around those communities,"
    Pettis said. "We want to soak those areas as much as possible so
    if there's any sparking, hopefully it'll land on wet ground."
    Crews also cleared out charred trees that have fallen across the
    Steese Highway between miles 143 and 149 since the Bolgen fire
    jumped the roadway July 12. The highway remains open, but Pettis
    said motorists can expect intermittent delays on that stretch.
    Closer to Fairbanks, the 421,000-acre Boundary fire was very
    active Saturday, but had calmed Sunday under increased humidity and
    some light rain, said fire information spokeswoman Traci Weaver.
    The Boundary fire increased 60,000 acres on Sunday, reaching
    473,000 acres.
    New aerial infrared mapping showed the Boundary fire had merged
    with the 200,000 Wolf Creek fire to the east.
    "People who live in the area have been really concerned about
    that," Weaver said. "There are a lot of misconceptions that the
    merging could cause all this energy and power. But it's a non issue
    at this point. What burns goes into an area that's already burned -
    just like we use fire to fight fire."
    ---
    On the Net:
    www.dnr.state.ak.us/forestry/
    http://fire.ak.blm.gov/



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    Post July 19th evening update

    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A ferocious wildland fire that
    destroyed 15 homes in Nevada's capital city and forced the
    evacuation of hundreds of others was caused by an illegal campfire,
    officials said.
    Gary Schiff, Carson District ranger for the U.S. Forest Service,
    said the origin of the fire was a 45-minute hike on a primitive
    trail above the waterfalls in Kings Canyon.
    "Because of the extreme fire danger the trailhead was clearly
    posted with a sign prohibiting campfires," Schiff said, adding
    that fire patrols in the area had also been increased.
    Schiff said investigators have gathered "numerous pieces of
    evidence," and would like to talk to anyone who was in the Kings
    Canyon area up to a week before the fire was reported July 14.
    The Waterfall fire was 95 percent contained on Monday with full
    containment expected by Tuesday evening.
    Rehabilitation began Sunday with creation of artificial terraces
    to slow runoff this fall. Planting will come later in what's
    expected to be a yearlong process.
    The fire began early Wednesday and quickly spread to cover 7,600
    acres along four miles of the Sierra foothill ridge west of the
    state capital. Brisk winds sent the flames within one-half mile of
    the governor's mansion.
    At one point, more than 1,900 firefighters were on the lines,
    aided in an aerial attack by air tankers and helicopters. By
    Monday, most of the aircraft had been released and the number of
    firefighters was edging down to 1,000.
    "The danger has passed," said Stacey Giomi, acting Carson City
    fire chief.
    People who were evacuated from the suburban communities were
    allowed to return to their homes over the weekend.
    Some of the homeowners again raised questions on Sunday about
    the speed of the response to the fire.
    Schiff said the fire was first reported at about 3 a.m.
    Wednesday and by 6 a.m., nine crews were on the scene with
    helicopters and single-engine air tankers responding about an hour
    later.
    He and the other fire bosses agreed that dead vegetation and
    five years of drought combined to create an extremely combustible
    environment.
    "This fuel is still that volatile," Giomi said. "We could
    have a fire on the east side of town and it all could happen
    again."
    He and Schiff said people would continue to see spots of smoke
    as crews torch remaining brush and timber to remove the fuel.
    They also said residents could expect dust devils that might
    look like smoke.
    "If you see anything you don't like, call 911," Giomi said.
    In response to earlier reports that young people partying in the
    foothills where the fire started could have sparked it, Sheriff Ken
    Furlong said he wasn't pointing any fingers.
    "I'm not going to stand up here and say it's the kids," he
    said. "Whether it's young or old, we want the person who started
    this fire."
    So far, it's estimated the cost of fighting the fire has reached
    $4.8 million. No price tag has been put on the property destroyed,
    which includes homes in the $1 million range.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/
    Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center:
    http://www.sierrafront.net/

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Post

    HONOLULU (AP) - Firefighters succeeded Monday in containing a
    brush fire that erupted last Wednesday at the base of the Waianae
    Mountains.
    A Honolulu Fire Department helicopter was slated to fly over the
    area Tuesday morning to make sure the fire hasn't spread.
    Fire spokesman Capt. Kenison Tejada said earlier Monday that a
    500-gallon portable water tank helped firefighters douse hot spots
    and other areas that were smoldering.
    In all, the fire scorched 220 acres of brush and forest land.
    The Nature Conservancy is concerned because the fire threatened
    native Hawaiian birds and plants in its Honouliuli Preserve.
    Pauline Sato, the group's Oahu program director, said the
    devastation caused by the fire was significant.
    Nature Conservancy officials said they expect to complete a
    damage estimate by the end of the week.
    The blaze was blamed on children playing with fire.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 07-20-04 0415EDT
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  17. #17
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    Post Boy...I messed up this thread.

    2004 Alaska Stats as of July 20th

    Total Acres Burned This Year: 3,581,501.5

    Total Fires Year to Date Statewide: 459

    Fires Currently Active: 107

    New Active Fires: 3
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  18. #18
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    Post August 17th update

    Alaska wildfires grow to record 5 million acres
    By Yereth Rosen
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Wildfires have
    scorched over 5 million acres in Alaska as of Tuesday, forestry
    officials said, a new record that signals possible changes in
    climate conditions and the composition of the vast forests.
    "We will definitely not have the same kind of forest and
    landscape that we're familiar with today if this keeps up,"
    Glenn Juday, a forest-sciences professor at the University of
    Alaska Fairbanks, said.
    While it is common for vast sections of Alaska wild lands
    to ignite and smolder under the extended summer daylight, this
    year's fires have been driven by unusually hot and parched
    weather and plentiful lightning strikes.
    In a typical summer, 500,000 to 1.5 million Alaska acres
    burn, according to statistics from past years. And usually,
    fire is part of the natural cycle that clears black spruce and
    white spruce, slender, fast-growing conifers with high levels
    of flammable resin, out of the way for slower-growing hardwood
    trees like birch and aspen.
    Six hundred fires have burned during the summer, topping
    the 4.94 million acres charred in 1957, the previous record
    Alaska wildfire season.
    As of Tuesday, 103 fires were still burning, including the
    1.1 million-acre Taylor Complex fire that was created when
    several blazes merged. About 50 buildings had been lost,
    including seven homes, and 1,075 firefighters were on duty,
    with about $30 million spent fighting the fires so far.
    Fire managers were still waiting for the heavy rains that
    usually douse Alaska's blazes by August.
    "We didn't get that ground-soaking, long-duration rain,"
    said Andy Alexandrou, a fire information officer with the
    federal-state Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.
    Scientists warned that Alaska's trend is for increased
    wildfires of this magnitude.
    "Most of the explanations trace themselves back to the
    climate change," Juday said.
    REUTERS
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    Post Update

    FAIRBANKS (AP) - More than 6 million acres have burned in Alaska
    this summer, an area nearly the size of New Hampshire, according to
    fire officials.
    "It's a record year in a lot of categories," said Joe Stam,
    chief of fire and aviation for the state Division of Forestry.
    Fire officials cite an unseasonably warm and dry summer for why
    the old record of 5.1 million acres burned, set in 1957, was passed
    almost two weeks ago.
    The record for the driest summer was also in 1957, when less
    than an inch of rain fell in the Fairbanks area from June 1 through
    Aug. 28. This year, 1.81 inches of rain have fallen, according to
    the National Weather Service.
    Alaska started the year with a fire suppression budget of $6.7
    million. The total reached $38 million authorized Aug. 18.
    Fire officials say fires may not end until the snow flies - or
    even next year.
    "You'll never be absolutely sure it won't get bad again until
    there's snow on the ground," said Steve Frye, incident commander
    of a management team that until last week oversaw firefighting
    efforts near Central.
    Even cold weather may not put out fires, which can penetrate up
    to 2 feet into the duff layer because of the dry conditions, Frye
    said. Snow cover could keep fires smoldering over winter if the
    conditions are right.
    "That heat would have to receive enough oxygen to sustain it.
    It would have to be in a place in the spring when the snow melted
    it wasn't susceptible to that moisture because it would put it
    out," Frye said. "A lot of things would have to come together."
    Winds kicked up to 25 mph in some places around Central Sunday
    night, but instead of spreading flames, the gusts blew the fire
    back into an already blackened area, said Bill Watt, fire
    information officer.
    The 100,000-acre Evansville Fire near Bettles also flared to
    life, sending large water-scooping aircraft to the remote village
    to dump water Monday.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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