Crews on the ground are making good progress working to get a containment line around the fire. The Baker River Hotshot Crew, the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Crew, the UAF Nanooks Wildland Fire Crew, 16 smokejumpers and firefighting personnel from the Mat-Su Area Forestry office are continuing to work on the containment line.
The fire was reported to the Alaska Division of Forestry at about 3:30 p.m. and grew quickly, sending up a large column of smoke.
“Level 3: Go” evacuation orders have been issued for residents who live in the following areas: Alatna Road south to Makuskin Road and Southfork Road west to the entire South Malaspina Loop Road. A “Level 2: Set” evacuation notice has been issued for residents living within 2 miles of the “Level 3: Go” evacuation area. The original “Level 2: Set” notice was for residents living within 5 miles of the “Level 3″ Go” order but was later reduced to 2 miles. An evacuation shelter has been established at the Upper Susitna Senior Center.
Multiple air tankers were launched to drop retardant around the fire while water-scooping aircraft and helicopters, including two Blackhawks from the Alaska Air National Guard, were brought in to drop water on the fire. The retardant drops were effective and helped slow the spread of the fire.
The Baker River Hotshots and the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack crew were pulled off the nearby Montana Creek Fire and sent to the Malaspina Fire to help with initial attack. Engines and water tenders from local fire departments in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are on scene to assist with structure protection.
The cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation.