Moon Lake Complex Summary July 13, 2013
Incident: Moon Lake Complex Wildfire
Hot and dry conditions combined with lightening storms during June 22- 27, resulted in several fires igniting along the Alaska and Taylor Highways. Very low fuel moistures and steep terrain combined with many days at or near Red Flag conditions lead to very active fire conditions, and made direct perimeter control difficult to attempt. Tok Area Forestry transferred command of six wildland fires (#401 Moon Lake, #414 Tetlin Junction Ridge, #300 Dennison Fork, #357 Billy Creek, #386 Ladue Fork and #449 Big Timber Creek) to the Alaska Type 2 Incident Management Team on June 29, 2013. The two fires that were actively suppressed were Moon Lake and Tetlin Jct. Ridge. Various resources were used on the fire including: Hot shots, rappellers, smokejumpers, local crews, Canadian tankers and scoopers,Blackhawks,helicopters, motorboats, ATVs and dozers.
The Moon Lake Fire is located 24 miles west of Tok. Operational efforts are concentrating on containing the fire to the north and to the east of the Alaska Highway. On July 8, the fire started receiving heavy rains and cooler weather giving firefighters the opportunity to make good progress securing the perimeters threatening values at risk. The Mansfield Village area operations included a structure protection plan creating defensible space; hose lay, and sprinkler installation which will remain in place throughout the summer.
The Tetlin Junction Ridge Fire is located18 miles east of the Tetlin Junction. The fire was part on Tetlin Native Corporation land, and the current remainder is on state land. Fire personnel have secured the fire perimeter to minimize growth towards Tetlin Native Corporation Land, the Alaska Highway and the Taylor Highway.
The remaining four fires are located in remote, non-populated areas. Limited protection management areas are designed for broad landscapes with low potential of values at risk, where fire is allowed to function in its ecological role. Site-specific action may be taken if values become threatened. Moderate fire activity was observed on the remote fires by aerial monitoring throughout the past two weeks.
Wildland forest fires in Alaska tend to burn in a natural mosaic pattern. Due to weather, terrain, and other factors there are often irregular edges to the fire’s perimeter and interior pockets of unburned vegetation remain. The burn patterns on the landscape from the Moon Lake Complex are a good example of this type of mosaic. Smoke is anticipated from interior pockets of unburned vegetation and hot spots along the perimeters.
The process of breaking down remote camps will continue throughout the next few days as crews and overhead personnel are demobilized. Four fire crews and additional resources continue to secure and monitor the fire perimeters. Transfer of command of the Moon Lake Complex will take place on July 15, 2013 at 0800 to an Alaska Type 3 organization based out of Tok Area Forestry.