A fast-moving wildland fire north of Willow has shut down the Parks Highway at 77 Mile and several residents have voluntarily evacuated their homes due to the fire.
The Sockeye Fire has jumped the Parks Highway and is burning on both sides of the road. The Alaska Division of Forestry is using air retardant tankers, helicopters and water-scooping aircraft to try to control the fire. Firefighters on the ground are providing structure protection.
At last report, Alaska State Troopers estimated that about 10 homes had been voluntarily evacuated and troopers were alerting other residents in the area of the encroaching fire. An evacuation center has been set up at the Willow Community Center at 69.7 Mile Parks Highway.
The fire was reported at 1:15 p.m. on West Sockeye Avenue. It was estimated at two acres when reported but as of 3 p.m. was estimated at 80 acres.
DOF has responded with two air retardant tankers and two helicopters equipped with water buckets. Three water-scooping aircraft are enroute to the fire from Fairbanks, also. Three initial attack crews are also enroute to the fire to compliment efforts of firefighters currently on the ground.
The cause of the fire is not known at this point and is under investigation.