Tuesday, Oct. 18 – 10:45 a.m. – Alaska Division of Forestry fire managers are hoping a decrease in winds will help firefighters increase containment on a 300-plus acre wildfire burning north of Palmer along the Glenn Highway.
After three days of battling strong winds that have fanned the flames of the 328-acre Moose Creek Fire, firefighters were expected to get a slight reprieve today with wind speeds dropping to more manageable levels.
The high winds – 25-30 mph with gusts of 50-60 mph – have made it tough for firefighters to control the late-season wildfire, which started early Saturday morning as the result of an escaped debris burn. Pushed by the wind, the fire grew rapidly on Saturday and on Monday made a run toward the Glenn Highway, forcing temporary closures and delays on the road between Miles 54-58.
Approximately 90 personnel from multiple agencies and fire departments are working to contain the fire, which was listed at 22 percent containment as of 7 p.m. Monday. There was no growth on the fire overnight Monday and firefighters were back on the line early Tuesday morning working to secure uncontained line and keep the fire inside the existing perimeter. Firefighters are also cutting hazard trees along roads and trails that could pose a potential danger to firefighters or the public.
Winds on Tuesday morning were blowing 10-15 mph and the National Weather Service was still predicting gusts of 25-30 mph but those numbers are about half of what winds speeds the last three days have been clocked at.
State Forestry is also monitoring a small fire about 10 miles north of the Moose Creek Fire near Mile 68.5 of the Glenn Highway. The 5-acre King Fire was started by a tree on a power line at approximately 1 p.m. Monday.
A helicopter and engine crews were diverted from the Moose Creek Fire and were able to hold the fire to 5 acres using water drops from the helicopter and hose work by firefighters on the ground. There was a small, 20-foot-by-50-foot flare up on that fire overnight Monday but firefighters were able to contain it and will be in mop-up mode today to ensure it poses no threat.
Motorists should still expect possible delays on the Glenn Highway between Miles 54-58 and are asked to use caution and be alert for firefighters and firefighting equipment on the road.
In addition, residents in Southcentral Alaska are advised not to do any kind of burning – burn barrels, debris burning or campfires – until the dry, windy conditions moderate.