Poker Flat Research Range weathers Boundary Fire with minimal damage

Release Date: 
Monday, July 5, 2004

For Immediate Release

A surveillance RADAR facility and two Connex storage containers at Poker Flat Research Range were lost to the Boundary Fire on June 30, 2004. The surveillance RADAR facility was used to detect small aircraft in the range's flight zone before launching sounding rockets. A replacement value for it, and the two storage containers, has not yet been determined.

Last week, Poker Flat Research Range staff cleared trees near structures and equipment, with help from Facilities Services at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). In addition, the UAF Fire Department sprayed a fire retardant on buildings at the site's lower range. The efforts were successful and helped minimize damage to the range, which endured three waves of fire on Wednesday and early Thursday morning.

Several fire crews are now based at the range. Due to the facility's location, it is a pivotal site for controlling the Boundary Fire from spreading through the valley toward Chatanika Lodge, and up Haystack Mountain.

Trees, charred by the fire, are falling on power lines that surround the range, causing occasional power outages. However, the 26 commercial structures at Poker Flat Research Range remain intact. Range staff continues to be on site to support fire personnel and help protect range assets from further damage.

Greg Walker, Poker Flat Research Range manager: (907) 474-2102.
Kathe Rich, Poker Flat Research Range operations controller: (907) 474-2103.