Smokejumpers Provide Structure Protection for Historic Denali Patrol Cabins
Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
DENALI PARK, Alaska: Eight smokejumpers were deployed late yesterday to provide structure protection to two historic ranger patrol cabins potentially threatened by the Wigand Creek and Toklat River East Fires, which will likely burn together today. The Lower Toklat cabin, built in 1931 and located approximately 23 miles north of the Denali Park Road, is approximately .8 mile west of the Toklat River East Fire. The East Fork cabin is about 4.5 miles east of the Toklat River East Fire. It was constructed in 1930 and is about 18 miles north of the road. The National Park Service fire crews removed shrubs, trees, and other potential fuel from the vicinity of the cabins within the past five years as part of the park's hazardous fuel treatment program. The smokejumpers are tentatively planning a burnout operation at the Lower Toklat Cabin as it is more at risk due to the fire's proximity. The jumpers at the Lower East Fork Cabin will do hose lays and prepare a sprinkler system.
Denali fire managers were able to fly over the park yesterday and map the fires that were not obscured by smoke. There has been minimal change in the size of most of the fires burning in the park.
The Beaver Log Lakes Fire is now 63,000 acres. Fire personnel will continue to mopup around the cabins and other structures where burnout operations took place on the north shore of Lake Minchumina.The Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) managing this fire and the 26,266- acre Moving River Fire will gradually downsize operations as fire conditions permit.
The more than 22,000–acre Sandless Lake Fire on the northern park boundary was mapped yesterday and observers saw active fire on most of its perimeter. Due to heavy smoke portions of the fire were estimated. Areas that burned in 2009 are to the north and west of the fire.
The McKinley River East Fire that is 14 miles northwest of Wonder Lake was mapped at 4,417 acres. Little fire activity was seen during yesterday's overflight. It is burning in an area adjacent the McKinley River where a large fire burned in 1986.It and other lightning-ignited fires burning in remote backcountry areas of the park are not threatening any critical park resources, and will continue to be monitored for any significant changes in activity.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/currentfireinfo .htm for current information about wildfires in Denali National Park and Preserve. This will be the last daily press release on Denali fires until fire activity changes significantly.
Fire danger for the park and surrounding area is moderate to high. The National Park Service is urging park visitors to be extremely cautious with anything that could start a wildfire. Campfires are discouraged, but they are permitted in the fire grates in three of the park's campgrounds.Fires are not allowed in the park's wilderness areas. Fireworks are not allowed in the park and will be confiscated. Persons using fireworks in the park may be prosecuted.
There are currently 109 active wildfires in the state. Where there is fire, there is smoke. Due to the current and expected statewide fire activity, park visitors should anticipate the possibility of varying levels of smoke in the park. Wildfire smoke information is available at http://dec.alaska.gov/air/smokemain.htm. Visit http://fire.ak.blm.gov for statewide information and a map of the active fires.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.