Seaton Roadhouse Fire near Tok grows to 318 acres; Alaska Highway remains open

the Seaton Roadhouse Fire burns along the Alaska Highway on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Alaska Div. of Forestry photo

the Seaton Roadhouse Fire burns along the Alaska Highway on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Alaska Div. of Forestry photo

May 21, 11:20 a.m. – A wildfire burning along the Alaska Highway near the Canadian border grew to more than 300 acres overnight Wednesday but aggressive initial attack efforts by firefighters in the air and on the ground helped keep the fire from spreading further.
The 318-acre Seaton Roadhouse Fire was reported to the Alaska Division of Forestry at around 4 p.m. Wednesday on the north side of the Alaska Highway near milepost 1234, about 10 miles from the Canadian border and 80 miles southeast of Tok. Its original size estimate was 20 acres but it grew quickly and was estimated at 200 acres within two hours. The fire spotted across the highway into the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge shortly after it was reported but the main part of the fire was burning on the north side of the road.
The Alaska Highway remains open and traffic has been slowed to 10 mph for a half-mile section of the highway in the area of the fire due to smoke and reduced visibility. Motorists should keep an eye out for firefighters and firefighting equipment along the road.
The Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge has closed its visitor center at 1229 Mile and the Seaton Roadhouse Recreation Area at 1234 Mile has also been closed, according to refuge officials. Firefighters are taking action to protect the visitor center.
A total of 49 personnel were working on the fire and more crews were enroute Thursday. Air tankers dropped multiple loads of retardant on the fire on the north side of the highway Wednesday night, which is on state land. A water scooping plane and helicopter dropped water on the slopover fire on the south side of the road because retardant is typically not used in national wildlife refuges.
The fire on the north side of the highway was ringed with retardant before tankers quit for the night and hose line had been laid around much of the fire on the south side. A retardant tanker and helicopter were enroute to the fire Thursday morning to continue retardant and water drops.
Bulldozers are being used to build fireline on the north side of the highway while crews were working to build a hand line around the fire on the south side of the road.
The fire was listed at 10 percent containment as of midnight Wednesday.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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