Montana Creek Fire prompts aggressive response

Numerous air and ground fire resources have responded to a fast-growing fire burning about 2 ½ miles east of the Parks Highway at Mile 98, south of the Talkeetna Cutoff. Residents are being warned to prepare for the possibility of an evacuation order.

The Montana Creek Fire (#429) was reported shortly before 3 p.m. at about 3 acres.  By 7:30 p.m., a visual estimate put the fire at 200 to 300 acres with a retardant line around 90 percent of the fire. The cause of the fire is not known. The Alaska Division of Forestry reports there have been no structures lost and no injuries.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Emergency Management has issued a “Level 1: Ready” evacuation alert for residents in the Montana Creek area.  A “Level 1” alert is NOT an evacuation order, but an alert to be ready in the event an evacuation is necessary. Some residents are leaving the area voluntarily. The Upper Susitna Senior Center is serving as a gathering point for those who have voluntarily evacuated.

Four air tankers, two water-scooping aircraft, smokejumpers, a task force of engines, a helitack crew, and the Baker River Hotshots were responding to the fire. Firefighters were hitting the fire hard from the air with retardant and water drops. They were working to protect one structure in the fire area. The fire was burning to the east. 

Montana Creek Road is closed. Troopers are advising motorists to yield to emergency traffic and to stay out of the area if possible.

Barring any significant changes this will be the final Montana Creek Update for the evening.

An Alaska State Trooper vehicle sits in front of a house with the smoke column from the Montana Creek Fire rising in the background. Photo by Sgt. Brent Johnson/Alaska State Troopers
An Alaska State Trooper vehicle sits in front of a house with the smoke column from the Montana Creek Fire rising in the background. Photo by Sgt. Brent Johnson/Alaska State Troopers

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