Rain on Tuesday and cloudy, cooler weather on Wednesday benefitted firefighters working on containment of the 1,300-acre Kobe Fire smoldering a couple miles west of the Parks Highway near milepost 275. The fire was 20 percent contained as of Wednesday night, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The cooler, wetter weather enabled firefighters to complete a combination of dozer and saw line around the perimeter of the fire, which is located in the Kobe Agricultural Project about 10 miles south of the town of Anderson and 65 miles south of Fairbanks. Crews continued working to secure the fire’s edge on Wednesday using pumps and hose that were set up around the dozer and saw line to give them a water source to extinguish hot spots.
Heavy equipment is being used to dismantle smoldering berm piles in the interior of the fire that were pushed up by bulldozers when land was previously cleared for agricultural purposes. The berm piles are extremely resistant to suppression and must be ripped apart to expose hot spots so that firefighters can water them down.
The fire continues to put up occasional smoke columns when interior pockets of unburned areas are consumed by the fire. The smoke columns are visible to residents in the area and passing motorists on the Parks Highway.
There are currently 155 people assigned to the fire, including six 20-person crews. Another crew was scheduled to arrive at the fire on Wednesday and another will be arriving on Saturday to replace other crews that are timing out and being released from the fire.
The Kobe Fire started Thursday evening, July 11, and grew rapidly, forcing the evacuation of two remote subdivisions west of the Parks Highway near Mile 275. Rain moved into the area late Thursday night and Friday, calming fire behavior and allowing firefighters to take a stand to halt the spread of the fire. They have been working to contain the fire since.
The fire was human caused but the specific cause remains under investigation.
A “Level 1: Ready” evacuation notice remains in effect for the Kobe Ag and Anderson subdivisions closest to the fire. A “Level 1: Ready” notice means that people should be aware there is a threat in the area and to begin assembling needed items for a potential evacuation.