Pebble Project camp destroyed in wildfire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A supply camp for the proposed Pebble Mine was destroyed in a wildfire over the Fourth of July weekend, according to a Pebble Project spokesperson.
The camp, situated approximately 17 miles northwest of the communities of Newhalen and Iliamna, according to Pebble Project spokesperson Mike Heatwole, is considered a near-total loss, with just a handful of metal drill casings surviving the blaze. Heatwole said no hazardous material was burned in the incident.
The area described by Heatwole is nearest the Upper Talarik Fire, which is considered part of the Lime Complex wildfires that have burned since early June. The Upper Talarik Fire was last reported Wednesday to be 9,133 acres in size and is unstaffed by firefighting crews.
Pebble Limited Partnership has long sought to begin work in developing the controversial Pebble Mine. Heatwole said the supply camp was essentially being used as a supply staging area for potential exploration, maintenance and study site for environmental impacts.
Heatwole added that the site does not house field staff, which are housed in Iliamna and Newhalen. He said that the Pebble Project was informed of the blaze by the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center and is working to clean up the site, but ongoing wildfire activity in Southwest Alaska has hindered efforts to get a crew out there.
“Summer is an intensive season for helicopters,” Heatwole said. “Our current plan is to secure a helicopter later this summer and undertake a clean-up of the site. We will also assess at that time if additional work is required.”
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