As Klondike Fire grows, crews use land and flames to their advantage


The Klondike Fire has now burned over 55,000 acres.

That's about 5,000 more acres than the Taylor Creek Fire.

But the two have merged at certain points.

"You can see that the two fires have basically come together - there and there - and some of that was just by the natural progression of the fires themselves," says Peter Frenzen, an information officer with Alaska Interagency Incident Management, who has been called to Oregon help out on the fire. "But also that we have brought them together in an effort to close the fire line at that point."

Part of that burnout strategy has to do with fire fighter safety, ensuring they have a safe, cleared out way to leave the fire area.

Another important part is keeping the fire where it causes the least amount of damage, but that's no simple task.

Crews have been wetting down land around some properties in preparation for prescribed burning tomorrow which is a larger part of getting the fire's direction under control.

The goal in this process is to use the fire strategically, keeping it away from homes and other valuable assets, and instead diverting it to a place where fire fighters can get it under control.

"We're using some of the natural features of the land here to contain the fire and work the fire into position that eventually it will be all blacked out and contained," says Stuart Gallup, a task force leader for the Klondike Fire.

In this case, those features include the Illinois River and Baby Foot Rd, which are important buffers to keep the fire away from the highway, a major evacuation route

"We're returning to warm and dry over the weekend so we're trying to get as much of this perimeter that you see marked in black secure to solidify things before," says Frezen.

All residents west of US Highway 199 between Eight Dollar Mountain Road and the Oregon-California border have been placed on a level one evacuation.

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