2 Jun 2010, 12:37pm
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by admin

Eagle Trail Fire

Location: W of Tanacross, Tanana Valley, AK
Specific Location: Galman Lake to Crystal Springs, N and S of the Tanana River, 63.333 lat, -143.317 lon

Date of Origin: 05/26/2010
Cause: Lightning

Situation as of 06/14/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 390
Size: 17,934 acres
Percent Contained: 78%

Rain on fire. Crews will continue to build line and cold trail along the un-contained northern and western flanks of the fire. Crews will begin pulling hose from the Mansfield Lake Village area and the cabin north of the Tanana River on the SW corner of the fire. Demobe of excess equipment is continuing. Suppression repair work is ongoing south of the Alaska Highway.


Situation as of 06/11/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 670
Size: 18,020 acres
Percent Contained: 51%

The western flank remains the major problem for containment. Steep and varied terrain, meandering perimeter, heavy fuels and the majority of remaining heat is taking extensive crew work.

Minimal fire behavior was observed during today`s shift. Heavy down fuels continue to burn along the uncontained fire edge, and with drying could pose control problems. Smokejumpers jumped into remote portions on the northern flank of the fire to build 2 new helispots for insertion of crews and their logistical support. Crews made good progress coldtrailing and building fire line on both the northern and western perimeters. The fire is approximately 51% contained.

Note: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center situation reports do not include fire costs. Hence we cannot track those on Alaska fires. Suffice it to say, this fire has cost $10’s of millions to suppress. Crews from all over the Nation have been flown in to fight it. In contrast, many fires burning Alaska have been monitored by aircraft with virtually no suppression costs. It is not clear to this observer how and why the varied suppression decisions are being made this year in Alaska, especially in light of the disastrous and controversial fire season there last year.


Situation as of 06/10/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 698
Size: 18,020 acres
Percent Contained: 49%

A massive cell moved in from the Canadian border at approximately 1700 hrs bringing .5″ of rain, high winds and hail over the majority of the fire. Crews returned from their line positions during the event. The majority of the effort today was containment of the east part of the fire and continuing work westward.


Situation as of 06/08/2010 7:00 am
Personnel: 792
Size: 18,020 acres
Percent Contained: 28%

Night shift concluded. Perimeter mop-up in progress


Situation as of 06/06/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 750
Size: 17,879 acres
Percent Contained: 21%

No change in acreage, fire smoldering in cool damp weather, yet more firefighters were added. Crews from Prineville, Redmond, and Warm Springs OR are on this fire, as well as crews from other states.

Now that the NIFC has guaranteed funding via the FLAME Act, they can spend money like water. Flying crews into Alaska from the Lower 48 provides those crews both training and time-and-a-half pay. Most Alaskan fires are not even staffed, meriting only occasional fly over monitoring. But a few have become project fires, where the goals are more bureaucratic than anything else.


Situation as of 06/05/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 698
Size: 17,879 acres
Percent Contained: 21%

Cooler temperatures and higher RHs along with light precipitation slowed fire activity today. Crews began pulling pumps and hose from the lines south of the Alaska Hwy. More crews were moved to the east flank. Fire personnel were able to access the cabin on the north side of the Tanana River, across from mile post 1336 of the Alaska Hwy, by helicopter to continue structure protection. Night operations continue to patrol and mop up south of the Tanana River.


Situation as of 06/04/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 667
Size: 17,879 acres
Percent Contained: 19%

Some light showers were observed on parts of the fire this afternoon. Fire personnel were able to access the cabin on the north side of the Tanana River across from mile post 1336 of the Alaska Hwy by helicopter, to begin structure protection. CL-215s and retardant aircraft kept the fire from reaching the cabin and from crossing the Tanana River to the south. Additional crews were deployed north of the Tanana River on the east flank. Night operations will continue to patrol and mop up south of the Tanana River.


Situation as of 06/02/2010 9:00 am
Personnel: 596
Size: 14,348 acres
Percent Contained: 15%

Boreal Spruce, Tundra and M1 Boreal mixed woods.

Fire Behavior Rank 5 and 6 fire behavior. Active head fire with spotting, running and group torching. Backing fire along the southern perimeter.

Control lines held in all division despite a significant increase in fire behavior. Burnout operations were started in the Moon Lake area and will continue tomorrow. Progress on the burnout was delayed due to erratic winds. Contingency lines for future burnout operations planned for north of the Tanana River and around Old Tanacross are completed. Night operations continue to mopup and patrol south of the Alaska Hwy and around the village of Tanacross.

Note: we have not reported on Alaska fires previously. This fire threatens a community and is a high priority fire nationally, so we have listed it. Other active large fires in Alaska that we have not reported include:

Toklat Fire - 133,771 acres
Jeannes Lake Fire - 17,081 acres
Cascaden Ridge Fire - 14,917 acres
Chitanatala Fire - 24,029 acres
Applegate Fire - 16,170 acres
Gilles Creek Fire - 17,800 acres
Popavich Fire - 2,065 acres
Bull Creek Fire - 3,600 acres
Slokenjikh River Fire - 11,192 acres
Granite Tors Fire - 9,141 acres
Mystery Fire - 15,000 acres
Turquoise Lake Fire - 81,889 acres

Many of these fires were ignited by a lightning storm of May 25, 26, 27. Some are staffed, others monitored by air. Rains have dampened many. Year-to-date 422,465 acres of wildfires have burned in Alaska. For more information see the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center [here]

Note 2: for all of you who think air temperatures determine fire intensity, daytime temps on these Alaska fires ranges from 55 to 75 deg F. Obviously, air temps are NOT critical factors. It’s the fuel loading and continuity.



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