McKinley Fire Morning Update: 09-03-19

Sawyer/Firefighter Bryan Jackson of Forest Fire Type 6 Engine Crew Saws Rootplates From Fallen Trees Working With Excavator Operator Wes Stephens, photo credit Mike McMillian

Cloud cover, rain and cooler temperatures on Labor Day helped firefighters make steady progress mopping-up around structures and further securing the perimeter.  The fire vicinity saw approximately a half-inch of precipitation, with widespread light rain continuing overnight. Light and variable amounts of rain are expected off and on throughout the day keeping humidities up and aiding firefighters in mop-up.  Temperatures are expected around 60 degrees. 

Excavators and saw teams will continue breaking-up concentrations of fuel, stirring up hot ashes burning below the surface in the thick duff layer and organic matter bringing those burning materials to the top and mixing around with water to extinguish.  Removal of fire equipment is starting outside the fire’s perimeter, if you see this know that firefighters are continuing to work around structures within the fire perimeter and are bringing in equipment on the outside of the fire.  

As people are returning to their property, flagging is being utilized to mark hazards.  Red and white flagging will identify fireline hazards such as fire-weakened trees and ashpits.  Yellow and black flagging will mark hazmat hazards. Significant hazards such as ashpits and snags are on the fire and residents are encouraged to be diligent, keeping a high level of awareness when traveling throughout the fire.  A night shift is still in place on the fire to monitor any flare ups and continue mop up.

The Northern Rockies Interagency Incident Management Team 7 took command of the fire September 2.  

All power is restored to the area and any residents experiencing issues should call the Matanuska Electric Association.  Residences from milepost 81.5 to 92 of the Parks Highway are still in evacuation “Level 1-Ready”. The fire in this area is controlled, but the threat of ash pits and falling timber continues to be a hazard. The Parks Highway speed limit remains 45 mph.

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

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  A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is still in effect over the McKinley Fire. 

Disaster Assistance:  There are several agencies with information on disaster assistance; please visit Alaska Wildland Fire Information: for detailed contact information.  The Mat-Su borough will open Disaster Assistance Centers September 4-18 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for fire survivors to register for the State of Alaska Individual Assistance.  Locations include: 

  • Willow United Methodist Church (29286 Parks Hwy, Willow, AK 99688)
  • Upper Susitna Community Center (16463 Helena Ave), Talkeetna, AK 99676 (September 4-6, closing at noon on September 6th).

Categories: AK Fire Info

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