Firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry and BLM Alaska Fire Service worked late into the night to control a wildfire reported 80 miles northwest of Wasilla on Sunday.
The 56-acre Kahiltna Fire was reported at around 6 p.m. Sunday by local pilots flying over the area. The fire was located in a modified protection area approximately 80 miles northwest of Wasilla and 28 miles west of the Parks Highway. Aircraft from the Division of Forestry flew over the fire and sized it up as a 10-acre blaze running in black spruce and hardwoods.
A load of seven firefighters from the Mat-Su Area forestry office were flown in by helicopter, arriving approximately an hour after the fire was reported. Air tankers from Palmer and Fairbanks were ordered and made multiple retardant drops on the fire starting at 8 p.m. A load of eight smokejumpers from the BLM Alaska Fire Service were also dropped on the fire at 10 p.m.
With the help of the retardant drops and substantial rain, firefighters were able to secure most of the fire perimeter and it was deemed 40 percent contained when firefighters pulled of the line at 1 a.m. The fire was estimated at 40 acres at the end of shift.
Firefighters returned to the line early Monday morning and found small amounts of heat on one flank and some smoke in the interior portion of the fire. A Type 2 initial attack crew was shuttled into the fire early Monday afternoon to assist with suppression. The fire was displaying minimal fire behavior after getting a substantial amount of rain the night before. The latest acreage estimate was 56 acres after firefighters walked the perimeter.
Firefighters will continue gridding for hot spots and isolated areas of heat today to increase containment.