Firefighters keep Tyonek blaze away from oil and gas facilities

Firefighters have kept the wind-driven Tyonek fire on Cook Inlet’s west side away from the Beluga gas field and Chugach Electric Association’s Beluga power plant so far.

The fire reached within two to three miles of gas and power facilities but as of Thursday afternoon, a firebreak built by firefighters appeared to be holding, according to Lori Nelson, spokeswoman for Hilcorp Energy, one of the owners of the Beluga field.

A firebreak is a strip of area cleared in front of the fire to halt the advance.

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said operations in the Beluga field are normal. ConocoPhillips is the Beluga field operator. The Beluga gas field supplies gas to Chugach Electric Association’s Beluga power plant, which is also at the field.

The field also supplies gas to Enstar Natural Gas Co., the regional gas utility.

About 150 firefighters are now working to control the fire, Nelson said. Hilcorp was providing GIS equipment to the fire management team, which is based in Palmer.

On Wednesday, Hilcorp also took the precaution of draining crude oil storage tanks at the Granite Point production facility on Cook Inlet’s west side.

Meanwhile, the large Funny River fire now covering more than 60,000 acres on the Kenai Peninsula is also being battled but so far is not close to oil and gas production facilities or pipelines, Nelson said. Hilcorp operates gas production at its Ninilchik and Kenai fields on the Peninsula and oil production at the Swanson River field.

Meanwhile, an Interior Alaska fire near the Yukon River bridge presented a threat to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, but the fire has since changed direction. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., operator the pipeline, has moved protective equipment into place, Alyeska spokeman Bill Bailey said. On Thursday, the fire was about three-quarters of a mile from the pipeline but winds shifted and pushed it farther from the Dalton Highway and TAPS.

Alyeska has moved three water spray units with 1,000-gallon water storage bladders and earthmoving equipment to the section of pipeline closest to the fire, Bailey said.

Fifty-two firefighters from the state Division of Forestry are working to contain the fire.

“Alyeska is not involved in the firefighting operation at this time, but we have moved equipment into place as a contingency,” Bailey said.

The pipeline also has a cleared 64-foot right-of-way in that section which could serve as a firebreak, he said.

 

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

tease
Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read