McHugh Firefighters Tackle Hot Spots on Eve of Team Transition


Members of the Eldorado Interagency Hotshots show Alaska postcards Sunday morning, July 24, 2016, at the Incident Command Post of the McHugh Fire. An Anchorage local, Mary D. Knox who lives in the shadow of the fire, donated more than 200 stamped Alaska picture postcard for crews and firefighting personnel, many from outside of Alaska. Sam Harrel/Alaska Division of Forestry

ANCHORAGE – The fire began July 16 in Chugach State Park, just south of Anchorage and reached 100% containment on July 24 2016.

Firefighters will continue to look for hotspots daily on the 778-acre McHugh Fire utilizing a helicopter equipped with an infrared camera. Firefighters will focus on stabilizing these areas, with the assistance of helicopter bucket-work. Smoke may occasionally be visible from the highway, from hot pockets of isolated fuels within the black.

On Friday, July 29 at 8 a.m., Alaska Interagency Type 2 Incident Management Team will transition to a Type 4 organization lead by Incident Commander Rob Larson. Two crews and two helicopters are currently assigned to the incident, with a total of 141 personnel. Incident staffing is expected to decrease today, as containment objectives are met, and crews and overhead are re-assigned to other incidents. This will be the final fire update from the Alaska Incident Management Team, if significant fire activity occurs the Alaska State Division Forestry will release an update.

State park officials have opened the Rabbit Creek Trail to Rabbit Lake in the Chugach State Park. The trails and adjacent parklands between the Potter Creek and Rainbow trailheads, including all of the McHugh Creek and Rainbow Creek drainages, remain closed to public use. Closures specifically include the Turnagain Arm Trail between Potter and Rainbow, the McHugh Creek Trail and the Rainbow Peak Trail as well as the McHugh Creek wayside, Beluga Point pull out and Rainbow trailhead. Fire managers are working with state park officials to reopen the trails, once it is safe to do so.

Motorists should continue to use caution when driving the Seward Highway through the fire area. The 35mph speed limit continues through the affected fire area but has been shortened to mile 110 to 112 (McHugh Creek to Beluga Point), pull offs outside that area are now open. Falling rocks and debris are causing intermittent road closures of the Seward Highway due to rain over the burn-affected area. For updated highway information call 511 the State of Alaska Department of Transportation Traveler Information line.

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)

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