McKinley Fire Morning Update: 09-01-19

Firefighters on the line at McKinley Fire, Photo credit Meshel, Engine crew, Alaska DOF

Cooler temperatures and light rain aided firefighters in mop up efforts. There are still many hot areas, mainly in the fire’s interior. The precipitation tends to cap existing heat in the lower duff layers making ash pits harder to detect. Crews continue to work securing fire perimeter.  Hazard trees and ash pits are still a concern along roadways and around homes. 

The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Type 2 Team is transitioning with the Northern Rockies Interagency Incident Management Team 7 with transfer of command Monday, September 2 at 7:00 AM.  Firefighters and some key personnel will remain and continue working under the new team. There will be a community meeting at 3:00 PM today, Sunday Sept. 1 at Willow Elementary School to introduce the incoming team, update the public and answer any questions on the fire containment progress. 

Saturday at 2:00 pm evacuation levels were reduced. The “Level 2 – Set” evacuation for those residences in the area of the Parks Highway from milepost 81.5 to 92 was 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 was removed. 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.

The weather Sunday will be mainly cloudy with only sprinkles in the forecast. High temperatures should be in the mid 60s. More rain is forecasted for Monday through Tuesday with a high probability of wetting rain.

An emergency burn closure remains in effect. All burning, including campfires and charcoal grills, is prohibited in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough including campfires in fire pits or rings in designated campgrounds. This burn closure exists in the Kenai Peninsula as well.

Closures: A portion of Willow Swamp (Game Management Unit 14A) is closed due to the Deshka Landing Fire. For more info, visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/.  A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) exists over the McKinley Fire. 

Disaster Assistance Information

Matanuska Electric Association:  Those without power can call 907-761-9300 or visit http://www.mea.coop

State of Alaska Homeland Security Disaster Assistance: damaged primary residences or essential personal property loss, register online at ready.alaska.gov or call 907-428-7000

Alaska Red Cross: emergency relief supplies, recovery casework and planning services at the Upper Susitna Senior Center. Relief supplies will also be available Sheep Creek Lodge. To reach a recovery caseworker call 907-764-2407

The Parks Highway remains open through the fire area with a speed limit of 45 mph. Road updates available at 511.alaska.gov

Matanuska Susitna Borough will accept debris caused by the McKinley and Deshka Landing Fires with no charge at specific locations. For more information the Solid Waste Division can be reached at 907-861-7600

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation: (ADEC) Air quality, drinking water, food safety and sanitation, wastewater, solid waste, and hazardous substances. Reach the ADEC Disaster Coordination Team at 907-269-4198

Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Donations for fire-impacted residents. They have locations in Big Lake, Wasilla, Talkeetna, and Willow. 907-745-5827

Team Rubicon can provide assistance with debris removal and clean up. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. 360-975-7944

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