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Contact: Mark Keogh, 907-822-7223
Copper Center, Alaska - The lightning-caused Gilahina Fire continued to burn on Thursday, but gained little acreage. The cooler temperatures with higher humidity made for less active fire behavior. A fly-over late afternoon showed very little smoke being generated by the fire. The drift smoke in the Copper River Basin is coming from fires further north in Alaska and possibly from fires in Canada. Today’s weather forecast calls for continued cool and moist weather, but with stronger winds. These winds may increase the fire activity.
The fire continues to remain on the north side of the Gilahina River in the wilderness area. Yesterday, the Gannite Glacier and Norvik Type 2 crews completed a handline along the west edge of the fire, tying in to natural fuel breaks on the ground. They extinguished the remaining heat in the outer 50 feet of this portion of the fire. By the end of today, they hope to have 100 feet of the west edge of the fire cooled.
The Gannite Glacier Type 2 initial attack crew is expected to be released from the Gilahina Fire tomorrow. This crew will be made available to go to another fire in the state. A 10-person Fire Use Module will be assigned to continue to work on the west edge of the fire as needed. They will also monitor the fire activity and makes plans for resource protection as the fire grows.
One Remote Access Weather Stations (RAWS) has been delivered to the fire, with a second RAWS on order. These will be placed in the Gilahina and Lakina River drainages. These RAWS will provide information about the weather conditions directly affecting the fire.
The State of Alaska Division of Forestry and National Park Service are managing this fire cooperatively. There will be a community meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in Chitina at the park visitor cabin.
The McCarthy Road is open and there are no driving restrictions. For those who fly in the vicinity, be aware of fire related helicopter and fixed-wing traffic and the possibility of sudden decreased visibility. The local victor frequency is 122.9.
For additional information, visit https://www.nps.gov/wrst/parkmgmt/currentfireinfo.htm or http://www.inciweb.org, or contact Wrangell –St. Elias Information Officer Mark Keogh at 907-822-7223. For statewide wildfire information, go to: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/