McKinley Fire August 21 Update with Video Update by Operations Chief Branden Petersen

Structure assessment and protection continue on the McKinley Fire

Firefighters on the McKinley Fire are continuing efforts today to assess and protect structures on the approximate 4,349 acre fire burning between Willow and Talkeetna. An evacuation order remains in effect for the fire area from Mileposts 82 to 91 of the Parks Highway. The fire behavior currently remains a creeping ground fire that is requiring extensive mop up. There are currently 201 fire personnel working the fire.

Operations Update with Brandon Peterson

Firefighters will have additional assistance as Rogue River Hotshots a 20-man crew from Siskiyou National Forest and Warm Springs Hotshots also a 20-man crew from Warm Springs, Oregon. Additional crews from the lower 48 are expected to arrive later today.

Approximate Fire Perimeter Map for August 21, 2019
Approximate Fire Perimeter Map for August 21, 2019

During the community meeting at Willow Elementary School there were several concerns regarding evacuee’s properties being burglarized. Lieutenant Paul Fussey with the Alaska State Troopers indicated, “Immediately after evacuations were initiated due to the McKinley fire, troopers initiated proactive patrols throughout the areas evacuated. These proactive patrols have been occurring 24 hours per day with a goal to provide a safe working environment for emergency responders, safe passage through the fire area, and to deter burglary, theft, and other crimes from occurring.”

Photo by Firefighter Molly Swanson of Jessica St. Laurent both with Chugiak Volunteer Fire & Resuce working on the McKinley Fire.

The McKinley Fire began Saturday near Milepost 91 of the Parks Highway.  An estimated fifty structures were destroyed in the fire Sunday night.  The Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshal, and Alaska State Troopers are working with the Alaska Division of Forestry and Matanuska Susitna Borough to get a better estimate of structures burned and determine how many were residences, sheds, shops, or outbuildings.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and Alaska State Troopers are working to account for persons in the evacuation area. If you know of persons who may be unaccounted for please contact the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Evacuation Accountability Call Center at 907-861-8326.

The Parks Highway remains open, but motorists are warned to expect long delays and intermittent closures depending upon fire activity. As of 10:00 a.m. on 8/21/19, pilot cars are leading traffic between Mileposts 76 to 99.  Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska National Guard are staffing traffic control points. Residents and visitors are not allowed in the evacuation area until damage assessment is completed and safety to the public is limited.

The Alaska Railroad has been working to clear downed trees and debris from along the tracks. Limited service is expected to begin today.

A Temporary Flight Restriction remains in effect over the fire area and local pilots should go to https://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html to check on the status of the TFR and the hours it is in effect. 

#akwildfire #alaskawildfire #dnrwildfire #msbem

About Alaska National Park Service

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