Firefighters continue mopping up two wildfires that started within tour days and 2 miles of each other near Talkeetna three weeks ago.
An infrared flight over the 367-Montana Creek Fire (#469) and 83-acre Malaspina Fire (#491) on Saturday revealed two hot spots on the Montana Creek Fire but no other areas of concern.
Those two hot spots will be addressed today by two 7-person initial attack squads from the Mat-Su Area Forestry office in Palmer. Those two squads are the only personnel left on the fire after a Type 2 crew from Washington state, the Puget Sound Regulars, and a 5-person task force were released from the fire at the end of shift on Saturday. The two Mat-Su squads will continue to patrol and mop-up the two fires daily while also being available for initial attack on any new fires in the area.
Pacific Northwest Team 12, a Type 2 incident management team from Washington, turned the fire back over to the Division of Forestry’s Mat-Su Area office to manage on July 14.
Neither fire has shown any growth in the past week and minimal fire activity has been observed on both fires, which are 75 percent contained, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The Montana Creek Fire started on July 3 and grew rapidly, prompting evacuation notices for residents in the area of the fires around Mile 98 of the Parks Highway. An aggressive aerial response held the fire in check until crews arrived to start building containment line around the fire. One structure was lost in the fire but there were no injuries.
The Malaspina Fire started on July 7 only about 2 miles north of the Montana Creek Fire. That fire also prompted evacuation orders and alerts in the immediate area. Aircraft worked several hours dropping retardant and water on and around the fire to slow its spread while crews from the nearby Montana Creek were shifted to the Malaspina Fire to help get it under control.
The cause of both fires remains under investigation.