Fire update: 11 a.m. Wed., August 21, 2019

Aug 21, 2019

An air tanker dropping fire retardant on the Caribou Lake Fire. Photo taken on Tuesday, August 20.
Credit AK Division of Forestry

The Caribou Lake Fire is now estimated at 700 acres with some structures threatened. The North Fork Fire did not grow overnight. It is still estimated at 59 acres.

A burn ban is now in effect for the Kenai Peninsula and air quality is poor. People with respiratory problems are advised to limit activity.

Click on the arrow below to listen to the report from the AK Division of Forestry. 

The Caribou Lake Fire was active on Tuesday spreading toward valuable assets as poor visibility limited aircraft support.

Fire retardant drops slowed the spread of the fire as helicopters shuttled the Redding Hotshot Crew of California to the fire. Smokejumpers continued constructing dozer line. As of Tuesday evening, the size of the fire is estimated to be 700 acres. Poor visibility has hampered efforts to map the fire’s perimeter. The fire was active through the night last night despite the heavy morning inversion. East winds are expected to challenge firefighters efforts today.
North Fork:
Firefighters were able to hold their dozer line around the North Fork Fire as they improved their hose lay and started mop-up to widen their fireline. Cooler temperatures moderated fire behavior Tuesday.The fire remains at 59 acres.

Clear skies and temperatures in the 60s along with winds from the east starting this afternoon will challenge firefighters on the Peninsula as dry conditions continue. The next chance of rain for the fire areas is expected Friday as a front moves through bringing isolated showers.

The primary focus today on the Caribou Lakes fire will be on the western flank where forecasted east winds are expected to increase fire activity. There are more than a dozen structures to the southeast of the fire along the north-shore of Caribou Lake. The 28 smokejumpers and hotshots on the fire will continue to build fireline working with three dozers and an excavator. Aircraft will continue to support firefighters as conditions allow.

East winds and large trees falling across firelines will continue to challenge firefighters on the North Fork Fire today as they continue to hold and improve their perimeter. Water trucks are being used to shuttle water to the fireline. Drivers need to be cautious around firefighters and equipment. There are no road closures associated with this fire.

Because of the forecast winds, residents living along North Fork Road, north of the fire and in communities along the Diamond Ridge Road to the south, remain on a Level 1 “Ready” notice. A “Ready” alert is NOT a notice to leave. This means that people must be ready for potential evacuation. This includes assisting family members with special needs, arrange to move mobile property (boats, trailers, ATV), and prepare pets or livestock.