Smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service and the Division of Forestry are working to contain an approximately 10-acre wildfire burning in a remote area near the Knik River outside Palmer.
The fire was reported at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday but wildland firefighters from the Division of Forestry were not able to access the fire due to wet terrain and lack of trail access. Given cool temperatures and wet terrain adjacent to the fire that was expected to limit growth of the fire, it was decided to wait until Sunday morning to take action.
As of 6:30 p.m., a load of 7 smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service in Fairbanks were working to suppress the fire with the help of two State Forestry firefighters who were able to fly in via a contract helicopter. They were able to construct a helicopter landing zone and three more DOF firefighters will be joining the action this evening to put a dozen personnel on the fire.
A helicopter equipped with a bucket has been dropping water on the fire most of the afternoon and that bucket work has been effective in slowing the fire’s growth except for some small uphill runs on the slope the fire is burning on. Fortunately, there is a lake at the base of the slope the fire is burning on that makes for quick turnaround times for the helicopters doing bucket work. No flames are visible from the air but the fire is putting up substantial smoke. Local pilots are advised to stay out of the area so as not to interfere with air operations.
Three other DOF firefighters were able to reach a cabin about a mile from the fire using ATVs and structure protection measures were put in place for the cabin if the fire moves in that direction.