Fire update: 9 a.m. Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Aug 27, 2019

Current map of the Caribou Lake Fire
Credit AK Division of Forestry

The Caribou Lake Fire, 25 miles northeast of Homer, is estimated to cover 900 acres. Firefighters have maintained the 900 acre footprint with no growth for over two days and expect to officially increase the percentage of containment, currently set at 20 percent.

Minimal fire growth is expected over the next several days as the predicted cloud cover will moderate fire activity. Around 80 people are fighting the fire on the ground and in the air.
A Temporary Flight Restriction is in effect for the Caribou Lake area.
Drivers out East End should be aware that Forestry is using a gravel lot on Basargin Road. Signs and flags are on the road near the area.

The North Fork Fire, 6 miles northwest of Homer, is now 100 percent contained at 59 acres. Firefighters continue to mop up the fire. 

Sarah Saarloos, Public Information Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry spoke with KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson today, Tuesday at 8 a.m. for a Fire Update.

Transcript Tuesday, August 27, 2019 8 a.m.

KBBI:
Good morning, Sarah Saarloos, public information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Saarloos:
The Caribou Lake Fire received some rain on Monday. However, that rain was really light. We're still experiencing drought conditions out there. So the ground is really dry. And it's going to take a lot more rain to actually put that fire completely out. 
Some good news is that the thermal, infrared, detection technology that we use hasn't seen any significant heat signatures for over 48 hours. And also the fire hasn't grown or moved out of its footprint of that 900 acres for over three days now. I did want to give a shout out about Caribou Lake.

KBBI:
Okay. Go ahead.

Saarloos:
Today, we have 78 firefighters still out there on the Caribou Lake Fire. The smokejumpers the crews from out of state and the Kachemak Emergency Services will continue to hold and improve existing control lines using Dozer saws and other hand tools.

There's a helicopter out there that was tying in with them yesterday, using buckets to bring water into specific areas that had that heat remaining just to be able to make sure that all the edges are cool today and following days in this week. That will be the plan. This fire is looking really good and there's a lot of really good work happening out there.

KBBI:
Still at 20 percent containment or did you raise that level?

Saarloos:
It is 20 percent containment but a lot of the technical specialists that deal with formulas for the containment percentage, they've been dealing with the Swan Lake Fire.

KBBI:
So you're holding that number for now.

Saarloos:
Yeah, we're patiently waiting for them to update it knowing that all this work is happening. We're seeing that there's no heat signatures. We’re also able to get visual by just the helicopter flying over it.

And also the fire behavior is - smoldering. We're not even seeing any single tree torching…anymore. A lot of really good work is happening, but it's a big fire. You know, it's 900 Acres. So it's going to take some time.

KBBI:
Okay, and work continues on the North Fork Fire?

Saarloos:
They still have about 40 plus people out there on the North Fork Fire.

We're looking at what we call Demo (demobilization) the releasing of those firefighters in the next couple shifts because it has been a hundred percent contained and they're not finding any heat. They also have done that infrared, thermal camera work and they're not seeing any heat either. So, we're close to being able to get that fire into a controlled OUT status.

KBBI:
I know you're busy. Thank you so much for your work and for your fire updates.

Saarloos:
Yep. Thanks Kathleen.

KBBI:
That is Sarah Saarloos, public information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry, Tuesday, August 27th at about 8 a.m.