McKinley Fire Update – August 31, 2019 2:00 p.m. Evacuations Levels Changed for all areas around the McKinley Fire

The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team, responsible for managing the McKinley Fire, and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have coordinated to lower current evacuation levels.

The current “Level 2 – Set” evacuation for those residences in the area of the Parks Highway from milepost 81.5 to 92 has been reduced, to a “Level 1 – Ready.”

The current “Level 1 – Ready” evacuation for those residents in the area of the Parks Highway from milepost 79 to 81.5 has been removed.  However, please note it is suggested that anyone living in a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area remain always at a “Level 1 – Ready” and be prepared. A “Level 1 – Ready” means making sure your evacuation kits, family emergency communications plan, and your evacuation plan is prepared and that your family is ready.

Even with the change in these evacuation levels, firefighter and public safety remains fire management’s number one priority. The McKinley Fire has not had any significant fire growth, however, is still an active burning fire within the interior that firefighters will be working continuously day and night for weeks to secure. During a wildfire and after the fire has burned through the landscape it continues to pose risks to those firefighters working on it and the public in the area. There are ongoing hazardous situations and dangers that can be difficult to identify after the initial fire front. Use caution and good judgment, ultimately you are responsible for your own safety and well-being.

While the fire area received a very light rain overnight, there was only 0.03 inches (three one hundredths of an inch). This rain only created a top layer of precipitation on the fire foot print. That top layer creates slick hiking conditions and can disguise ash pits because the surface heat might be masked as the deep heat is sheltered.

Several firefighters on the McKinley Fire and some community members have received severe injuries. Following are some hazards and safety concerns that homeowners and community members need to consider.

  • Fire weakened trees – after a fire they may stay upright for days or weeks but then fall over without warning. This is a threat to people, animals, and buildings.
  • Ash pits – thin duff layers and root systems burn causing ash pits. They are not clearly visible and easy to walk into causing severe burns.
  • Powerlines – assume all downed powerlines are a charged and contact your local utility company. Falling trees can also take down powerlines.

While the Parks Highway is open in both directions, please note the posted speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph between milepost 84 – 92. Please use caution for the safety of the firefighters and utility companies working in the area.

For more information regarding safely returning to home after a wildfire go to:

Updated Evacuation Map for McKinley Fire 8-31-19
“Level 1 – Ready” for milepost 81.5 to 93

Categories: AK Fire Info

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