Fire update: 9 a.m. Thursday, August 29, 2019

Aug 29, 2019

Map showing containment lines for the Caribou Lake Fire as of Thursday morning, August 29, 2019

The Caribou Lake Fire, 25 miles northeast of Homer, is now 57 percent contained. The footprint of the fire is estimated at 904 acres. Minimal fire growth is expected over the next several days as the predicted cloud cover will help to moderate fire activity. Around 80 people are fighting the fire on the ground and in the air.

The Alaska Division of Forestry asks hunters in Caribou Lake to please stay away from the fire area. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in effect for the Caribou Lake area. The TFR does include a restriction on drones.
The North Fork Fire, 6 miles northwest of Homer, is now 100 percent contained at 59 acres. Forestry is demobilizing those firefighters and preparing to shut down operations at The North Fork Fire.

Sarah Saarloos, Public Information Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry, spoke with KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson today, Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.

Saarloos:
Well, on Wednesday, crews made significant progress and completed a large section of containment line on the east, south and west portions of the Caribou Lake Fire. All the containment lines were tested yesterday by those gusty winds and warm temperatures that we had. They held and there was no growth. Fire continues to be holding at that 904 Acres.

However, the containment has increased to 57 percent.  A control line has been completed which can reasonably be expected to stop fire spread. There's 57 percent of the fire now contained all along the east side, the whole southern perimeter and then on the west. The only open line that we do have has a dozer line across but it just hasn't been mopped into that 75 feet.  It's on the northern portion of the fire, being held by a dozer line up in the Boxcar Hills today. What they'll be working on is buttoning up that last northern perimeter and being able to walk in 75 feet in and making sure that all that heat is out and then we'll see containment increase tomorrow.

  KBBI:
 Also, there's some rain coming isn't there?

Saarloos:
There is. We're looking at some cooler temperatures and possibly rain. That's only going to help them this weekend to be able to get to that hundred percent containment goal with the confidence that the fire will not spread from that containment line.

KBBI:
And, are firefighters encountering hunters in the fire area?
  Saarloos:
Not in the fire area, but we are starting to see more hunters which is totally normal this time of year. No one has gone through the barriers. They see the fire information sign.

 KBBI:
Well, that sounds terrific. Thank you so much for the update.

Saarloos:
They'll be a new map posted that people will actually be able to see that containment line.
  KBBI:
We can use some tips on how to read that map.

Saarloos:
It's a black line instead of a red line - red indicates that it's still needing to be contained.  But the black line is what we want to be focused on with the goal of that black line going all the way around that fire perimeter area.

KBBI:
Okay, thank you. So I think, if you agree, that it's about time for us to gear down a little bit so that I don't expect you to report to me twice a day. Saarloos:
That sounds good to me. I was kind of waiting for us to get over that 50 percent  containment, and the threat to the structures has gone now, so we could do another one tomorrow morning.

KBBI:
What I was going to suggest is that we still communicate at say five o'clock at night, but we'll keep our morning appointment and continue in that way.
  Saarloos:
That sounds great Kathleen that makes sense.

KBBI:
And then of course at any time of the day or night you may contact me with information. And I think it bears repeating that even if it's pouring rain out there. There is a burn ban.

Saarloos:
That's correct. And that could have helped with the success - not having any fires yesterday because people knew that there was a burn ban and we didn't have any open campfires or campfires that maybe didn't get put out correctly.
 It's going to take significant rain to really make some changes in how dry the ground is right now. Adhere to that burn ban and when it lifts, we'll make sure to get that information out to so people know that you're okay to, when you're out camping, to have a campfire.

KBBI:
Okay. Thank you, Sarah Saarloos, public information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Saarloos:
Thanks a lot. Have a good day.