Unmanned aerial system provides Dalton Highway Complex firefighters with infrared images and data – Alaska Wildland Fire Information

Firefighters on the Idaho Bar Fire (#555), east of Rampart, plan to complete the lengthy cleanup process on Sunday. They did a thorough search for hot spots, starting along the perimeter of the fire and working into the burnt area about 200 feet away, and found only two. The teams also coordinate the return of excess equipment and supplies from the line of fire and the village of Rampart to the supply cache in Fairbanks.

Two male firefighters stand on a dirt road surrounded by flat, treeless tundra.  Mountain peaks are far in the distance.  Their unmanned aerial system (drone) sits on the road and the laptop, portable radio and other equipment needed to fly the drone sits on a large storage box.  The drone provides firefighters with infrared imagery and data of heat sources on fires that are too far away or dangerous to reach on foot.
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) trainee pilots Tyler Hoest and Dan Paladino, under Director of UAS Brian Okarski, prepare to launch their UAS over a Dalton Highway Complex fire. They are members of the Columbine Wildland Fire Module in the San Juan National Forest in Colorado. UAS provides firefighters with imagery and data on heat sources that do not produce visible smoke or are too difficult or dangerous to access on foot.
Photo Credit: UAS Manager Brian Okarski, Columbine Wildland Fire Module, San Juan National Forest

In the northern part of the complex, the Columbine Wildland Fire Module flew an unmanned aerial system (UAS, aka drone) over the Prospect fire (#494)where they detected no hotspots, and the MM 125 Fire (#441), where they detected two. The crew will fly a UAS mission over the Fire Douglas (#336) on Sunday. The UAS collects infrared images and data that help firefighters determine the amount of surface heat remaining in the burned area.

Six firefighters abseiled into Gold Pan Fire (#565) to further assess the hotspots detected during Friday’s aerial reconnaissance. They will also establish a helipot and check the fire perimeter. Air assets continue to benefit from weather conditions suitable for flight and conduct reconnaissance missions and assist in removing tools, supplies and communications equipment no longer needed for the suppression effort.

The Fish Fire (##319), Little Salt Fire (#521), Mile Post Light (#317), Montana Ravine Fire (#556), Prospect Fire (#494), and Tozitna’s Fire (#543) were all fully controlled.

Two male firefighters in an open field surrounded by mature trees use hand-held controls to pilot an unmanned aerial system (drone) that has taken off from the ground.  The blue, cloudless sky serves as the backdrop for the small drone that takes off to monitor a fire that firefighters cannot access on foot.
Members of the Columbine Wildland Fire Module in the San Juan National Forest fly their Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) over the fires at the Dalton Highway complex.
Photo Credit: UAS Manager Brian Okarski, Columbine Wildland Fire Module, San Juan National Forest

Dalton Highway Complex (89,100 acres): Total area includes all fires within the Dalton Highway Complex. The largest or most active fires in the complex are:

  • Fire Douglas (#336): 23,124 acres, located on both sides of the Dalton Highway between MP 141 and MP 149
  • Fort Hamlin Hills fire (#562): 615 acres, located on the Dalton Highway between MP 70 and MP 73
  • Gold Pan Fire (#565): 38 acres, located south of Rempart
  • Huron Fire (#372): 18,822 acres, located between Rampart and the Dalton Highway
  • Idaho Bar Fire (#555): 112 acres, located 4.5 miles southeast of Rempart
  • Fire MM 125 (#441): 2,986 acres, located between MP 121 and MP 125 on the Dalton Highway
  • Troublesome Fire (#359): 13,282 acres, located 11.5 miles east of Rampart
map showing the location and fire perimeters of the complex's 17 fires over a topographic background layer
Dalton Road Complex Public Information Map (2022-07-24) (click image to view PDF)

Fire time: A brief warming trend continues through Monday as ridges remain in the Yukon Territory and along the Canada-Alaska border. Relative humidity will decrease to the upper 30s and temperatures will remain steady in the 70s. The chance of rain increases Monday night and Tuesday as the front moves east, and much cooler temperatures are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday as moist air from the West Coast Low moves inland.

Closures: Arctic Circle Campground is closed due to firefighting activities. Arctic Circle Wayside (sign location) is open.

Public Safety: When driving on the Dalton Highway, exercise caution, be patient with firefighting efforts, and always drive with headlights on. The road is narrow; it is not recommended to stop to stop on the shoulder.

Contact information: [email protected], 907-921-2547 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily)

For a complete list of fires in the Dalton Highway Complex, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8240. For more information on all fires in Alaska, visit akfireinfo.com.

Printable PDFs:



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Categories: AK Fire Info

Tags: Alaska Fire Season 2022, Dalton Highway, Dalton Highway Complex

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