Aerial surveillance continues of 650+ Acre Fire #012 near Kwethluk

Fire burning in limited 5 Miles from Fish Weir

Photo by DOFFP Firefighter Matt Snyder

by Kale Casey

On Saturday April 16th, several commercial aircraft reported smoke around midday from wildfire #012. The fire burning in Limited was confirmed using FAA Weather Aviation cameras in Kwethluk, Bethel and Napakiak. A rough location was triangulated placing it within 3-5 miles of native allotments and other known sites.

Values at risk include native allotments one mile to the northeast, 2.3 miles to the southeast, 3.3 miles to the west, and the Kwethluk Fish Weir approximately 5 miles to the west southwest.

A DOFFP surveillance flight with a pilot and firefighting specialist Matt Snyder departed Palmer just a few hours later at 2:20pm. They flew in Commander N905AK and arrived on scene at 3:30 pm.

Upon arrival, the wildfire was estimated to be approximately 650 acres and with 75% of the fires edge active/ly moving to the northwest influenced by a southeast wind. According to Firefighter Snyder, who is flying the fire again on Easter Sunday, natural barriers were helping contain the threat from this early season blaze.

Said Snyder, “The heel of the fire was held up by a natural barrier with active fire in grass on the west and east flanks. The head was held up on a natural barrier, but the fire had crossed into receptive fuels in one location as seen in the photos. We circled the fire looking for structures and evaluating the potential risk of the fire impacting nearby allotments before checking on several Remote Automated Weather Sites (RAWS) and returned to base.”

Snyder added that today (Sunday, April 17th, 2022) before flying he checked the remote cameras and “there was no sign of activity on the weather cameras.”

We will provide additional updates on the DOFFP Facebook Page.

As a reminder, burn permits are required from April 1 through August 31. You can pick up a burn permit online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or pick them up at your local forestry office and at many local fire departments. 

Kale Casey writes from the Alaska Division of Forestry.

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