Live – Many Hazards Remain (Ash Pits, Falling Trees, Flare Ups, Downed Lines) as Containment Jumps to 46% for the McKinley Fire

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Live – Breaking News McKinley Fire: many hazards remain (ash pits, falling trees, flare ups, downed lines) as containment jumps to 46%. The acreage remains 3,332 acres with 449 fire personnel working to stabilize the burned area. MEA has returned power to hundreds of customers and is working south to bring power to those who continue to wait.

Aerial photograph of the McKinley Fire. Photo by Ed Soto/Alaska DNR Division of Forestry

Fire managers and cooperating agencies are reevaluating current evacuations levels based on firefighter and public safety as well as current and expected fire behavior. Factors leading to adjustments in evacuation levels are:
* Firefighters and emergency personnel have accomplished a great deal of work securing the uncontained wildfire and stabilizing the burned area, however there is active fire in the interior.
* Strong northeast winds forecasted for this weekend did not impact the fire area.
* Matanuska Electric Association have finished restoring power to Caswell Lakes and are working south to milepost 84.

Conditions in burned areas are very dangerous. Fire burns deeply in extremely dry duff layers and has weakened many trees that continue falling unexpectedly. Ash pits exist and have caused minor burn injuries to firefighters. Ash pits are deep holes in the ground that are hard to see because they are filled with hot ash and embers. These conditions create a very dangerous environment for firefighters and residents remaining in burned areas.

Aerial photograph of the McKinley Fire. Photo by Ed Soto/Alaska DNR Division of Forestry
Aerial photograph of the McKinley Fire. Photo by Ed Soto/Alaska DNR Division of Forestry

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