Area fires cool off, burn bans lifted

Crews working the Card Street fire spent Tuesday preparing for rehabilitation efforts.

Public Information Officer Max Konkright said firefighters moved trees and brush, and are waiting on equipment to start repairing damaged land. The goal, he said, is to get the fire lines to look as though they haven’t been disturbed.

Firefighters also have been patrolling structures with hand held infrared devices, checking for hot spots.

“They’re still finding a bit of heat, but not as close to the structures as it was before,” Konkright said.

To his knowledge, Konkright said no heat has been found within 400 feet of any structures. The Card Street fire is still 80 percent contained.

Konkright said local crews will begin shadowing the incident management team on Wednesday and prepare to take over fire operations on Thursday.

Additionally, Konkright said the incident management team is attempting to reopen the Skilak Lake Loop Road as well.

“We’re working with the local agency to do what we can to come up with a plan to get that road open,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Konkright said there were a total of 18 minor injuries reported.

One firefighter who had not been cleared to work on Monday has been release and sent home, he said.

Konkright said there are only four crews, about 160 people, still working on the Card Street fire. Personnel who are released are either reassigned to other fire incidents in Alaska or sent home for a mandatory break.

“The remaining Team 3 will return to their home units and go back to their regular jobs, and prepare for the next deployment,” Konkright said.

The Stetson Creek fire is 100 percent contained, said Morgan Warthin, public information officer for Chugach National Forest.

“There are 30 resources that are still working on that fire or are tied to that fire,” Warthin said.

The Bitterroot Type 2 1A crew and nine members of a local crew are continuing to mop up the Stetson Creek fire. Warthin said they are also starting rehabilitation efforts on the lines around the Stetson Creek fire’s perimeter.

The Juneau Lake fire has moved into what Warthin called a monitoring status. She said this means there is no longer a threat that the fire could grow, and firefighters are no longer actively working on it.

“At this point, there’s no heat from the fire,” Warthin said. “Fire managers will continue to monitor the Juneau Lake fire.”

Warthin said Tim Charnon, a firefighter injured on June 22 by a brown bear, is doing well and healing at home.

“The best news is that he’s in good shape,” Warthin said. “He’s actually back working for some hours during the day.”

Charnon, who works for Chugah National Forest when he is not fighting fire, is working from home.

Warthin said the burn closure in place for Chugach National Forest was also lifted Tuesday.

“At this point, we are going to rescind our stage two restrictions, so effective (Tuesday) campfires will be allowed in designated campgrounds,” Warthin said.

Fires must also be contained to designated fire rings. The Stetson Creek Trail remains closed, as does Juneau Lake Cabin. Other cabins on Juneau Lake are open, Warthin said.

The burn closure has been lifted for the Kenai Peninsula, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the Denali Borough, the Tanana Valley north of the Alaska Range, the Copper River Valley and several game management units throughout Alaska.

According to a press release from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the ban is being lifted on “state, private and municipal lands.” The closure has not been lifted in Southwest Alaska or the Municipality of Anchorage.

Campfires, charcoal and other cooking fires are now allowed, said Division of Forestry Information Officer Andy Alexandrou. Alexandrou said people need to be aware that while the closure is lifted, a burn suspension is still in place. Burn permits are still required for debris piles or burn barrels.

“Right now, you can have a campfire, but you can’t burn your debris within the permit regulations,” Alexandrou said.

The burn ban is still in place for game management units 9, 17, 18, 19 and 21, according to the release. To view a map of game management units, visit www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hunting/maps/gmumaps.

According to a release from the Alaska State Fire Marshal, the fireworks suspension has been lifted for the Copper River Valley, Firbank North Star Borough, Kenai Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Municipality of Anchorage and the Tanana Valley north of the Alaska Range. Alexandrou said it is important that residents remember the use of fireworks is banned on the Kenai Peninsula.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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