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Wildfire Report May 21

Smoke
The smoke experienced in Interior Alaska today comes from the 23,358-acre Toklat Fire, burning roughly 25 miles southwest of Nenana (more information about the fire can be found in this report under "Ongoing Fires"). The smoke is widespread due to the fire's size and location. Winds blowing from the south over the weekend will likely result in continued smoke impact within the Interior.
Learn more about wildland fire smoke at:

· AK Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) - Smoke:
http://www.dec.state.ak.us/air/am/smoke.htm

· DEC Air Quality Advisories/ Alerts:
http://www.dec.state.ak.us/air/am/aq_sr.htm

· Fairbanks North Star Borough Smoke Visibility/ Air Quality:
http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality and http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality/Docs/ParticulateLevels.pdf

Please drive with headlights on and use caution in areas of thick smoke.

Outlook
John Gould, the Manager of BLM Alaska Fire Service (AFS) says it is "fair to say that the fire behavior is unusual for this time of year and, in the Central Interior at least, is representative of the burning conditions we normally have in mid to late June." Due to the uncharacteristically significant early fire season activity in Interior Alaska, and the potential for large-scale, long term fires, AFS and Alaska Division of Forestry are working with jurisdictional agencies to evaluate the need for more aggressive actions to be taken on all fires. This is based on the consideration of long-term smoke impacts on human health and transportation systems.

Due to the early-season activity in the interior, aircraft have been brought on earlier than planned and additional smokejumpers have been ordered from Boise, Idaho. Additional aviation and initial attack resources have been ordered from the Lower-48.

New Fires
Two new wildland fires were reported to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center (AICC) Thursday:

· St. Mary's Dump, 3 acres, was a human caused fire in the Galena Zone that burned outside the St. Mary's Dump containment area. Local law enforcement and the Volunteer Fire Department responded and contained the fire.

· The Sucker River Fire, 398 acres, located approximately five miles southeast of Ft. Yukon is currently staffed with 27 personnel. The human caused fire is burning in grass and black spruce and was pushed by strong winds from the north. 16 smokejumpers deployed to the fire. An air tanker dropped five loads of retardant to slow the spread of the fire which allowed the smokejumpers to secure the right flank of the fire on Emile Lake. They continued working to secure the left flank and tail of the fire. The Pioneer Peak Hotshots deployed to the fire yesterday and today will work the east flank of the fire while the smokjumpers work to secure the west flank of the fire. Two Type 2 crews have been ordered and are expected to arrive at the fire in the afternoon.

Ongoing Fires
Two other fires are staffed:

· Crescent Island Fire, 1.5-acres, is burning in heavy blowdown and standing white spruce. 20 personnel which includes the Fairbanks #1 Type 2 crew, are mopping up the fire.

· The 23,358-acre Toklat Fire, a holdover fire from the 2009 Railbelt Complex, is now staffed with 108 personnel. The fire is burning roughly 25 miles southwest of Nenana, on both the east and west sides of the Kantishna River. The majority of the fire's growth and activity is on the west side of the river, moving toward the southwest. Part of the fire is burning in dead grass and other downed vegetation in an area that burned in 2002. The Midnight Sun and Chena Hotshot crews, the Minto #2 and Kalskag #1 Emergency Firefighter crews, and 16 smokejumpers are working to protect Native allotments and cabins by building fireline, laying out hose, and connecting firelines to natural barriers. Smokejumpers utilized watercraft to reach residences that were located south of the fire on Wednesday, to provide structure protection. Cooler temperatures, higher relative humidities, and reduced winds reduced the fire's rate of spread. Crews will continue to secure fireline from a burnout operation around two allotments.

A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the fire. Pilots are asked to check NOTAMS and refer to http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html for more information.

According to AICC, so far this year 139 fires have burned 27,445.6 acres statewide. Additional information about the statewide fire situation is available in the AICC Situation Report: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/content/aicc/sitreport/current.pdf. A map of "Statewide Fires" is at: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/predsvcs/maps.php.

Alaska Wildland Fire Suppression Media Guide Update
The 2010 version of the Alaska Wildland Fire Suppression Media Guide is now available online in the AICC Interagency Newsroom or at: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/content/news/interagency/AK%20Wildland%20Fire%20Suppression%20Media%20Guide%202010.pdf. The Media Guide provides a general overview to wildland fire response in Alaska, including agency relationships, personnel, terminology, and most importantly, sources for additional information regarding wildland fire and smoke.

Rural Alaska Fire Prevention Video Available on YouTube
The Rural Alaska Fire Prevention Video is now available online for public viewing. Even though it is focused on people living in rural Alaska, its messages about wildland fire are important for everyone. It is available on YouTube (www.youtube.com) by searching for "Rural Alaska Fire Prevention Video" (Parts 1 and 2).

Additional References

· Alaska Interagency Coordination Center: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/

o Map of Current Fires: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/predsvcs/maps.php

o Situation Report: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/content/aicc/sitreport/current.pdf

o National Fire Situation: http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf

o Guide to Wildland Fire Suppression in AK:
http://fire.ak.blm.gov/content/news/psa/Media%20Guide%20to%20AK%20Wildland%20Fire%20Suppression.pdf

· Alaska Division of Forestry (Burn Permit Info): http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/

· Alaska Wildland Fire Coordinating Group- Education and Reference Materials: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/administration/awfcg.php

· Protect your home and property!: http://firewise.org/ and http://forestry.alaska.gov/pdfs/firewise09.pdf

· Department of Environmental Conservation (Smoke Concerns): http://www.dec.state.ak.us/air/am/smoke.htm

· Department of Transportation (Road Closure Info):
(907) 451-2240, http://511.alaska.gov/

· National Parks Service: http://www.nps.gov/akso/Fire/firehome.htm

· U.S. Fish and Wildlife: http://www.fws.gov/fire/

· USDA Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/

· Anchorage Fire Department: www.muni.org/fire

· National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/

· Temporary Flight Restriction Information: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html

· Federal Aviation Administration: http://www.faa.gov/

AICC Morning Highlights are compiled by Alaska Division of Forestry and BLM Alaska Fire Service

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