Sunday, April 17, 2016

And fire season is ON!

There's smoke from the fire in the "remote area" AT THE END MY STREET!

Here we go again. KTUU television reported a 10-acre fire burning in "a remote area near the Knik River" today. The GD river is 25 MILES LONG and I live near the Knik River. For crying out loud, where along those 25 miles is the fire?


Orange marks Leaf Lake, the general fire area. White marks
my house.
It's called the Leaf Lake fire and after a minimal search I located Leaf Lake. It's on the south side of the river, 4.9 miles from the Butte. That puts it about 2.9 miles east of my house. Easterly winds are common in this area, though it's calm today. If winds pick up it would blow this way for sure. For those familiar with the area, Jim Creek shows up on the same map. So if the wind kicks up, I (and a ton of neighbors) are in direct line with the fire.
And that's just the people. With all the lakes and wetlands in the area, it is prime habitat for nesting swans, geese, ducks and many other birds.  

Why can't news people go one step further and give an accurate location? Near a river indeed. At least tell us which side of the river. Next we'll hear of a fire near the Yukon River. 

No reason to panic, no wind and the smoke appears to be drifting to the north. Maybe time to look around the house for a safety zone and then a mental inventory of what to take if evacuation becomes necessary.

UPDATE AT 6:30 PM: Here's an update on the Leaf Lake Fire outside of Palmer:
Smoke jumpers called in. BLM photo.
The fire has not grown substantially and is still estimated at 10 acres. A helicopter has been dropping water on the fire most of the afternoon and that work has been effective in slowing growth of the fire, with the exception of occasional uphill runs on the slope it is burning on. Winds have been fairly light at 5-7 mph with gusts to 8 mph and temperatures in the low 60s. Relative humidity has been in the high 20s.
There are nine people on scene - 7 smokejumpers and 2 State Forestry personnel - and three more DOF firefighters should be arriving shortly via helicopter. A second helicopter will join the fray tonight for transport and bucket work, also.Fortunately there is a lake at the base of the slope the fire is burning on so it makes for quick turnaround time.
The forecast is calling for windier conditions tomorrow afternoon, which could provide a test for firefighters.

ANOTHER: A lot less smoke over that way at 8:30 p.m.

UPDATE: 4/18:  Bit of an update Monday: No smoke visible from the house today. Drove the four-wheeler down to the river where there's a less obstructed view of the area and couldn't spot any smoke from there either. Size was updated to 25 acres due to better mapping, not spread. Cause has been listed as "human," but no more detail than that. Guessing that it's under control, Wind blowing upriver away from the house. Several reports today say fire is still being fought, generating lots of smoke, but no flame visible at least from the air. KTUU still locates it "near the Knik River."

UPDATE 4/19: Wildfire east of Butte making headway on its containment.

Alaska DNR- Division of Forestry (DOF)
3 hrs
The 25-acre Leaf Lake Fire near the Knik River outside Palmer (4.9 miles due east of the Butte) is now 80 percent contained and fire managers are projecting 100 percent containment by the end of the operational shift today if the winds don't get too strong. The 13 personnel working on the fire have mopped up 20-30 feet in around the fire and are concentrating on the lower end of the fire.


4/19 3 p.m.: This post from earlier in the day says it will be contained if the winds don't get too strong. Unfortunately at 3 p.m. winds have picked up considerably. River basin is full of a dust cloud (hope that's not smoke) and no report yet of how this has affected the fire. Oh yeah, it is blowing from the east directly toward this area.

4/20 A.M.: LEAF LAKE FIRE ALMOST OUT: Fire personnel continued to work the interior where fire activity was observed as smoldering and creeping in the unburned fuels. Winds picked up around 1400 with gusts of up to 20 mph, however, personnel were still able to achieve their goals. The fire was called contained at 1626, and plans for today consist of demobing the seven smokejumpers, while still planning for a complete demob of the fire by Thursday.

UPDATE 4/21: Fire personnel continued their mop-up operations throughout the day. 7 smokejumpers and 2 additional firefighters were demobed off the fire, and complete demob is scheduled for today, 4/21. Total cost to date: $105,643.

Alaska wildfire information

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Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

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Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

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I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

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Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

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You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

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"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

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"If they score runs they will win."

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