High winds cause Oregon Lakes Fire to move west

BLM Alaska Fire Service/AK Division of Forestry
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - High winds over the weekend caused the fire burning near Delta to move west. The Alaska Fire Service says the Oregon Lakes Fire grew approximately 2,000 acres over the weekend to over 19,000 total.

A large part of the fire is burning near a Fort Greely Impact Area. That area has unexploded ordinance, making it unsafe to deploy crews on the ground to fight the fire.

Alaska Fire Service says crews have been deployed to nearby communities and will continue structure protection, wile also looking for locations to construct fire lines.

BLM says equipment is being delivered by helicopter, boat, and parachute.

"The crews we have in there, have been there before, they have built relationships with the community," Incident Commander Bob Johnson said. "They asked to go back in there, and we really are confident that they are going to be successful in what we are doing. What we are doing is helping those home owners make sure that their homes are safe."

Because of the fire, the FAA issued a temporary flight restriction that covered land south of the Tanana River, east of Delta Creek, west of the Delta River, and north of Delta Junction. The flight restriction was designed to prevent aircraft from interfering with firefighting efforts, and applied to drones as well as manned aircraft. The BLM says drones pose a serious risk to firefighting, and can cause aircraft to be grounded.

The Alaska Fire Service also issued a burn suspension for the Delta, Tok and Salcha area today. Burn barrels and open debris burning are prohibited during a suspension. Campfires under three feet in diameter are allowed... but officials warn to be extremely careful so as to not cause a wildfire.