Given the warm, dry weather that has persisted in Southcentral Alaska, the Division of Forestry’s Mat-Su Area office continues to keep an eye on two small wildfires that started last week near Eagle River.
State forestry received multiple calls about increased activity and smoke from the Crow Pass Fire (#713) on Thursday. The fire is located in Chugach State Park and was initially reported late Sunday afternoon in the Eagle River drainage near Mile 17 of the 22.6-mile Crow Pass Trail. The fire, initially estimated at three-tenths of an acre, is located on the north side of the Eagle River about 6 miles from the Eagle River Nature Center. It is burning in steep, rocky terrain approximately 200 to 300 feet off the trail.
Firefighters on the ground were not able to access the fire due to the steep, dangerous terrain and a helicopter was used to drop water on it both on Sunday and Monday to keep it contained to the rocky area it was burning in.
However, with the recent hot, dry weather in Southcentral, the fire has continued to smolder and it increased in intensity on Thursday. A reconnaissance by helicopter revealed that the fire had grown an additional two-tenths of an acre. The south side of the fire was still hung up in rocky terrain with low spread potential but the area of new growth contained some black spruce. Given the current and predicted weather, the helicopter made multiple water drops to suppress the area of new growth to prevent any potential spread.
Meanwhile, the Steeple Fire (#717) was placed in monitor status on Thursday afternoon after firefighters spent the day gridding the fire for hot spots and found none. The fire was reported just after noon on Monday about one-half mile from the end of Steeple Drive east of Eagle River. A quick initial response by firefighters on the ground and in the air helped contain the fire to 1 acre. The fire was officially placed in monitor status at 5:10 p.m. Thursday.