McHugh Fire: Crew Effort Boosts Containment as Weather Shifts

ANCHORAGE – The McHugh Fire is now estimated at 815 acres. Better mapping of the fire has resulted in a decrease of 27 acres. There has been no growth on the fire since Wednesday and, with the forecast calling for continued cool, wet weather for the next few days, fire activity is expected to remain minimal. The fire is now 14 percent contained.

The McHugh Fire began one week ago and is burning in Chugach State Park, just south of Anchorage. The cause is under investigation.

The air quality advisory for Anchorage and Eagle River has been lifted, though there will still be some smoke from the McHugh Fire in varying intensity depending upon proximity to the fire and weather conditions.

Central Mat-Su engine manages two portable tanks that supply water to a hoselay deployed up McHugh Creek Trail, on the fire’s western edge. Photo // PIO Jennifer Berger

Firefighters are continuing efforts to build and reinforce containment line on the west side of the fire as well as clearing brush and making structures Firewise in the Potter and Rainbow valleys. In addition, efforts to suppress the fire from the air are continuing today, with helicopters dropping bucketloads of water in areas that are difficult to access on foot due to steep, rocky terrain.

KTVA’s Lauren Maxwell interviews Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew Assistant Superintendent Kris Baumgartner on measures taken to protect Rainbow Valley neighborhood. Photo // PIO Jennifer Berger

Motorists traveling the Seward Highway this weekend are reminded that the speed limit has been reduced to 35 miles per hours through the fire area and pullouts remain closed. Because the fire and rain have loosened rocks and other debris from the cliffs above the highway motorists should not stop or stand along the highway within the fire area. In addition, firefighters and support personnel and equipment may be on or near the roadway so please drive carefully.

A Temporary Flight Restriction remains in effect over the fire area. In addition, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones” is prohibited within the restricted airspace in order to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft.

Information about the fire can be found at:
• Facebook: Alaska DNR – Division of Forestry (DOF)
• Recorded Incident Information: 907-343-4701
• Anchorage Air Quality Advisory: 907-343-4899
• Incident Command Post Information Office: 907-742-8286

With fire activity moderating substantially, the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team will continue to provide once-daily fire updates and will provide additional updates as needed, depending upon fire activity.

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