Heat signatures (red) and smoke plumes (light blue haze) are visible from fires burning in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon. The National Interagency Fire Center’s Incident Management Situation Report from 03 July 2004 reports the Wolf Creek Fire northeast of Fairbanks has burned 33,500 acres and percent of containment was not known (Source: OSEII).
Alaska Interagency Coordination Center
Fort Wainwright, Alaska
03 July, 18:00 hrs
Statewide ban on sale and use of fireworks
Firework Ban: On order from the State Fire Marshal, the sale and use of fireworks is hereby suspended until further notice. There is also a burn ban for all open fires, including campfires.
Wolf Creek: It is confirmed that five structures burned in the Wolf Creek Fire after the fire was extremely active on June 1, 2004.
Ten hand crews have been ordered to help with line construction and mop up. Allen Chrismans Type 2 Incident Command Team will assume responsibility for the fire at 6 p.m. tonight. A public meeting will be held tomorrow, July 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Chena Hot Springs Resort Activity Center for anyone wanting more information about the fire.
Boundary: The Steese Highway remains closed. At 5:00 p.m. today, managers of the Boundary Fire are meeting to discuss how and when it may be safe to allow residents better access to their homes. Managers will take into account ongoing safety issues.
Eagle Complex: The King Creek Fire made an intense run and crossed the Taylor Highway between mile markers 121 and 126. Firefighters on scene estimate that traffic will be held for approximately four hours.
The Dawson Fire has crossed the Canadian border into Alaska. The fire is approaching the Yukon River near Eagle. Crews are completing line construction around both the town and village of Eagle.
Safety: Firefighter and public safety is the top priority on every fire. Maintaining a good safety record on fires requires time and constant attention from every single firefighter. A total of six firefighter injuries have occurred to date on all of the fires currently active in the entire state. Of the four people injured on Boundary, all have been able to return to work already. No injuries to residents or other members of the public are known to have happened in relation to any of the fires.
Source: Alaska Fire Service
People displaced by Alaska wildfires begin returning home
FOX, Alaska (AP) — Cool, humid weather Sunday helped slow the advance of an fire that caused the evacuation of hundreds of homes and businesses in Alaska’s Interior, and forecasters predicted wetter weather would soon follow.
The evacuation order remained in effect Sunday as the fire 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 4,090-acre fire 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.
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 70 to 80 homes on the mountain Friday. No homes or cabins were imminently threatened, but state officials issued a health advisory to protect people in nearby towns from smoke.
The two Arizona fires were 5 percent contained on Sunday.