More accurate mapping reduces size of Sockeye Fire

Houston, Alaska – Hundreds of firefighters are helping to hold the line on the Sockeye Fire, burning north of Willow. With more accurate mapping the fire is now estimated at 7,066 acres – a reduction of 489 acres, primarily in the Willow Creek drainage.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect today over the fire for continued high temperatures and low humidity. Due to those continued hot, dry conditions the State of Alaska has closed burning in the Mat-Su Borough, Municipality of Anchorage, and Kenai Peninsula. All open fires and activities that increase fire danger are prohibited.

The Sockeye Fire was reported shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday and grew quickly. It’s believed to be human caused and is under investigation. Crews continue to work along the perimeter of the fire as well as in subdivisions within the interior, using everything from heavy equipment, to hand tools, to aircraft and boats. Fire managers say residents in the area may see a decrease in smoke, but there is active fire within the perimeter and current weather conditions can quickly lead to dangerous fire conditions. There is still much work to be done to make the area safe.

Approximately 275 people turned out for a community meeting about the fire at the Houston Middle School Wednesday night. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will be providing face-to-face damage assessments today for individuals affected by the Sockeye Fire at Houston Middle School from 1-7 p.m. Borough officials and mental health services will be on site to assist with the process. Residents who cannot attend at this time should call the borough at 861-8500.

The Parks Highway remains open, with traffic led by pilot cars from Mile 63 through Mile 88. Passage through the area is dependent upon fire activity and motorists should expect delays.

Pilots are reminded that a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in place over the Sockeye Fire area. The TFR is lifted from midnight to 8:30 a.m. each evening to allow access to civilian aircraft. Fire managers will resume operational control of the airspace at 8:30 a.m. each day. Additional information about this and other TFRs can be found at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.jsp.

Information about the Sockeye Fire can be found online at:

For a statewide perspective on the current fire situation visit the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website at http://fire.ak.blm.gov or call Fire Information at 907-356-5511. The Incident Command Post is located at the Houston High School. The public is welcome to visit or call for information about the fire at (907) 892-9413 or (907) 892-9450.

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