Fire update: 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2019

Aug 23, 2019

A Fire Boss plane over the Caribou Lake Fire, taken on Wednesday, August 21.
Credit AK Division of Forestry

The Caribou Lake Fire,  25 miles northeast of Homer, is at 20 percent containment and is estimated at 848 acres. Fire suppression efforts will continue today with firefighters on the ground, air support and mapping. The fire is moving north and is expected to increase in size, though not rapidly. 

The North Fork Fire, six miles northwest of Homer, is holding at 59 acres, no growth expected. The fire has not increased in size in the last four days. Crews are working to put out hot spots inside the containment area. The North Fork Fire is currently at 75 percent containment.
KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson spoke with Sarah Saarloos, Public Information Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry at 8 this morning for this fire update.

Transcription:

KBBI:
Good morning, Sarah Saarloos, Public Information Officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry. You just got out of your morning briefing with forestry. How'd that go?

Saarloos:
Well, there's a morning briefing that happens at seven o'clock for the Swan Lake Fire. And now that the Swan Lake Fire is managing the Caribou Lake Fire. They were part of the discussion.

KBBI:
And what do you have this morning or the Caribou Lake Fire?

Saarloos:
Okay. So for the Caribou Lake Fire, we saw some increase in acreage like what we talked about yesterday because we were able to get more accurate mapping and that's what we've been looking forward to for the last day or two.

So that acreage is at 848 Acres that's an increase of 48 Acres, which we predicted that would happen. We had a really dry day yesterday with some wind but no extensive run over all that number was lower than than it could have been if we didn't have firefighters on the fire yesterday, and we also had a lot of work done by those fire bosses that we talked about last week the evening.

KBBI:
And, Forestry is pretty confident of that number?

Saarloos:
Well, it's an IR flight.

KBBI:
So what's that?

Saarloos:
An IR flight is still taken by air. So it's not a firefighter walking the edge of the fire surveying it and that's always your most accurate acreage like we have on the North Fork fire where the size of the fire and the location gives us the ability to walk the full perimeter of the fire and get that accurate information.

The IR light technology keeps getting better. And that's what our GIS specialists have given us this morning is  848 Acres.

KBBI:
What's the expectation for today or the work that set for today at Caribou Lake?

Saarloos:
We've got the 20 percent containment. And so that's a good start to increase that containment. That's the overall objective with this fire is a full suppression of fire with the goal of getting a hundred percent containment.

Today, they'll be using more of that equipment that they got flown in yesterday is going low. In with the helicopters and be able to just continue making line and increasing that containment on the Caribou Lake Fire.

KBBI:
What about the North Fork any chance of rescinding that READY evacuation?

Saarloos:
Well, we're getting really close to that. It's at 75 % containment now. We're on the fourth or fifth day of it holding at that 59 Acres. The crews were able to mop in about 75 feet yesterday. So that's getting rid of any heat from the perimeter of the fire.

In the very core of the fire, they're still finding some deep interior heat. That's going to be a primary focus today. And when we feel that we can get it to a hundred percent containment. That's where we'll see that READY be released.

Yesterday's wind, that afternoon wind did pick up a little bit more into the evening. And that was a really good test on those lines to make sure that they're cold and everything held.

KBBI:
Great.

Saarloos:
I think that wraps it up and will keep you updated as the day progresses.