Wildfire damages Pebble supply camp

The blaze in Upper Tarik caused severe damage to the Pebble Mining Camp, 17 miles from Ilmim and Village.

Public Partnership spokesman Mike Heatwole The fire broke out at the Public Supply Camp on the weekend of July 4.

No injuries were reported but the camp was destroyed and stockpiled search equipment, Heatwole said.

The fire covered about 7,986 acres[7,986 ha]according to data from the Alaska Forest Department on July 6.

Cale Casey, public information officer at the Forest Development Department, said the event management team had been monitoring the fire until June 30. There was no indication that the fire was going to a gravel supply camp.

On June 30, fires in the Lim Complex fires closed the supply camp with smoke and low cloud cover. Casey said the management team found damage to public supplies during the July 3 clean-up.

Hethwole said the damage to supplies was a total loss.

“The previously beautiful landscape of the tundra is now very hot,” he said. “Most of what we were there was burned. In some cases tents, canvas tents, supported by iron. You know, the metal is very hot and falling. So it’s really impossible to be saved.”

According to Hetwele, the fire destroyed wooden pallets and railways used to reduce the impact of the excavation.

He sent stone workers to the scene today, and the company is still working with firefighters to determine the impact of the fire. The company does not yet know how much this will affect Peb’s long-term operations.

Casey said this year’s fire was unprecedented.

“Ten days before we arrived in Alaska’s historic Alaska history, we reached a landslide that affected 1 million acres of wildfires,” Casey said.

Heathrow emphasized how much he appreciated the public response to the fire.

“It’s a fire, it’s destructive, but it’s just things, isn’t it? No one was hurt. And that’s a much better story,” Heathrow said.

Casey said more information will be made public after the in-depth assessment.

Contact the author at Katherine@kdlg.org or call (907) 842-2200.

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