Eight smokejumpers were still trying to corral an 80-acre wildfire burning near the Klutina River south of Glennallen on Tuesday.
The Klutina River Fire (#461) is located about 20 miles south of Glennallen, less than one-half mile east and south of the Klutina River, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The fire was called in at 7:10 p.m. Monday by local residents who reported a large fire growing near 16 Mile Klutina Lake Road. A helicopter, air attack plane and three air tankers responded.
Upon arrival, the fire was running and spotting in continuous black spruce with a 100 percent active perimeter. The helicopter worked the flanks with water drops while air tankers dropped three loads of retardant in front of the head of the fire to slow the spread to the north toward the river. Eight smokejumpers were also deployed on the fire to begin setting up a containment line on the west flank of the fire closest to the river. The fire grew rapidly and was estimated at 50 acres by the end of the night.
Due to limited visibility because of smoke, water-scooping aircraft were not able to work on the fire Tuesday but three helicopters, including two Blackhawks from the Alaska Air National Guard, were used to drop water on the fire. The water drops helped slow the fire’s progression to the north but a finger of the fire did push to the east. Smokejumpers and aircraft are trying to keep the fire from progressing north and crossing the Klutina River. Half of the Gannett Glacier Type 2 Initial Attack Crew was pulled off the nearby Tulsona Creek Fire and were transported to the fire by boat to assist smokejumpers putting in containment line and setting up pumps and hose.
The objective on Wednesday will be setting up pumps and laying hose on the north end of the fire to get water on that piece of the fire.