Saturday, Oct. 15, 10:30 a.m. – Firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry and multiple Mat-Su Valley fire departments are battling an approximately 178-acre wildfire near Mile 56 of the Glenn Highway south of Sutton.
The Moose Creek Fire was reported at 2:10 a.m. by a passing motorist. At that time, the fire was reported to be approximately 10 acres.The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and State Forestry officials are investigating.
The fire is burning near the Moose Creek Campground, about 12 miles north of Palmer and 5 miles south of Sutton.
Structure protection measures for two homes near the fire have been taken and an evacuation advisory has been issued for the Palmer Correctional Center at Mile 58 of the Glenn Highway, according to Norm McDonald, Fire Management Officer for the Division of Forestry’s Mat-Su Area office. Buses have been staged to transport prison inmates and personnel if the need arises, he added.
The fire has not impacted traffic on the Glenn Highway at this time but motorists passing through the area should slow down due to reduced visibility as a result of smoke and be alert for firefighters and firefighting equipment on the road.An edge of the fire is a couple hundred feet from the highway.
The fire is burning in cured grass and hardwoods. Firefighters’ efforts are being hampered by windy conditions that are expected to last through the weekend. Winds are currently blowing about 15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
Approximately 40 firefighters from the Division of Forestry, as well as fire departments from Sutton, Butte and Palmer are working to contain the fire. Additional resources have been ordered from Division of Forestry offices in Fairbanks and Glennallen, as well as the Alaska Fire Service in Fairbanks and Chugach National Forest in Moose Pass. Two helicopters have been ordered and will be arriving shortly to assist with suppression efforts.
Conditions remain very dry in the Mat-Su Valley and State Forestry officials are asking residents not to do any burning given the windy conditions. In addition, any residents who have done any debris burning in the last few weeks are asked to check the burn piles to ensure no heat remains that could lead to a wildfire.