Fire update: 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019

Aug 23, 2019

Caribou Lake Fire
Credit AK Division of Forestry

The Caribou Lake Fire is moving north.
The size is an estimated 800 acres but the Alaska Division of Forestry  expects the fire to grow, though not rapidly. There is still no reliable estimate for the size of the Caribou Lake Fire.
Poor visibility has made it difficult to map the fire.

The North Fork Fire is holding at 59 acres, no growth expected. Crews are working to put out hot spots inside the containment line. KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson spoke to Sarah Saarloos, Public Information Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry at 6 p.m. for this update:
 

Transcription
KBBI:
So thank you for your time and for your work. Do you have an updated estimate of the size of the Caribou Lake Fire?

Saarloos:
 Okay today the Caribou Lake Fire had clear skies, so that allowed helicopters to deliver much needed equipment and supplies to firefighters. It's been kind of socked in so we haven't been able to fly in equipment today was a big logistical day.

Also the fire received some water drops from to fire bosses around late afternoon. There is some fire activity, but it's more moderate fire activity and it's primarily to the north away from Caribou Lake. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 the Great Basin Incident Management team will assume command of the Caribou Lake Fire.

So what that means is those firefighters that are still out there on the fire, the  smoke jumpers and the Redmond Hotshot crew, will stay out there. But  having them under the management of that Great Basin team we’ll just be able to get them more aircraft and more. Support if needed and the only thing else to add is now there's two public information officers based in Homer and anything on the size of the fire the acreage or any new maps the amount that one out this morning that is 800 acres.

Still the map and the acreage that we're going at looking until tomorrow with that slight growth to the north. We could see acreage increase but not by any rapid amount.

KBBI:
Okay, so the fire has moved North because of the work they did over the last couple of days on the West Side.

Saarloos:
Well the fire moved because of the wind

KBBI:
And are you expecting other wind event tonight?

Saarloos:
They were expecting wind this afternoon and it hasn't materialized. They thought that the wind was going to be blowing. That's another reason why they were able to get aircraft in and use the fire bosses right now. They've been loaded and returning out of the Homer airstrip and being able to refuel there where the fire is moving is away from Caribou Lake and more north towards the Refuge border - is the closest thing it would be moving into.

KBBI:
Okay, and what about the North Fork fire?

Saarloos:
The North Fork fire is looking really good. So, we're on our fourth shift of it staying at 59 Acres. A lot of hard work is being done to be able to keep the fire within that 59 Acres. They're looking at reaching those containment goals by possibly even tomorrow or the next day and that's when we'll see the ready status removed by the borough.

So they’ve just got a couple more things to button up around that fire but it hasn't moved. It's looking good. They've been able to really get deep into the interior by getting water into every place that is holding heat.

KBBI:
 Thank you Sarah. Is there anything else you want to tell everybody?

Saarloos:
That's where we're at Kathleen.

KBBI:
And are there any plans for a public meeting?

Saarloos:
We're looking into that, a good assessment of what the community needs are and where we can hang up some maps and some updates – not just for the North Fork and Caribou but also the Swan Lake down here just so people can have an idea of what's going on provide more consistent updates to the local community and we're going to be reaching out to the local fire chiefs getting something organized.
And as soon as we do you'll hear about it.

KBBI:
Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

Saarloos:
You're welcome. And thanks for the opportunity to update the people.

KBBI:
Okay. Thank you, signing off.