Wildfire in East Anchorage 30 percent contained; evacuations lifted

A 25-acre wildfire that broke out in East Anchorage near the Campbell Creek Science Center on Tuesday afternoon was 30 percent contained as of 9:30 p.m., according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Smoke rises from a wildfire in East Anchorage on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2019. Photo by Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry
Smoke rises from a wildfire in East Anchorage on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2019. Photo by Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry

The fire was reported at 4:45 p.m. and drew a quick, aggressive initial attack response from the Anchorage Fire Department and Alaska Division of Forestry. The fire was initially estimated at 10-acres and growing. Firefighters reported the fire was burning in black spruce with 60-foot flame lengths. The smoke plume from the fire could be seen throughout Anchorage and surrounding areas.

The Division of Forestry was requested to respond and air tankers based at the Mat-Su Area Forestry office in Palmer were launched immediately. Tankers dropped three loads retardant to surround 80 percent of the fire perimeter while a helicopter made water drops on the fire to slow its growth.

The nearby Campbell Creek Science Center and a nearby mobile home park were evacuated and Anchorage police closed Lake Otis Parkway at Dowling Road.

The spread of the fire slowed as it moved into hardwoods and the retardant and water drops proved effective at slowing the spread of the fire and knocking down the flames.

Approximately 15 firefighters from Mat-Su forestry responded to the fire to begin laying hose and cutting a saw line around the fire. Eight smokejumpers from Fairbanks were also deployed to the fire and hiked in from Campbell Tract. Additional resources were mobilized from the Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula in the form of a strike team of four engines and a hotshot crew. The Gannett Glacier Type 2 initial attack crew was also mobilized from a fire near Lake Louise and was expected to arrive at the fire around 11 p.m.

The object Tuesday night was to get hose laid around entire fire perimeter. Crews planned to work until 11 p.m. and smokejumpers will be patrolling the perimeter of the fire until 3 a.m. searching for hot spots.

An evacuation order issued for residents in the surrounding area was lifted at about 7 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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