McKinley Fire – Morning Update, 9/8/2019

Acreage: 3,288  Containment: 95%   Personnel: 399  Start Date: 8/17/2019

Burn permit suspensions lifted for Mat-Su Borough today at noon! This does not apply to the Kenai area. Details can be found at http://dnr.alaska.gov

Please respect private property boundaries when gathering firewood along the Parks Highway.

Crews will continue to work around structures removing hazards such as unstable trees and ash pits until all immediate hazards are addressed.  Approximately 80% of affected structures have been cleared of these immediate hazards to date. Team Rubicon volunteers worked with affected property owners in the Yancey East area to begin the difficult task of moving and sorting through debris.  See the accompanying video on the Alaska DNR Division of Forestry Facebook page.

Public Information Officer Kale Casey with Team Rubicon Alaska Incident Commander and State Administrator Rachel Alford.

Firefighters on both day and night shift continue to patrol and monitor the fire perimeter.  Clearing and mop-up work is continuing along roadways and the railroad line. Pumps and hoses are being removed in areas where mop-up work is complete.  Crews have begun to assess where to start repair work on dozer and hand lines constructed during suppression efforts.

Yesterday’s rain accumulation of approximately 0.67” has reduced the risk of surface fire spread, including concerns of leaf fall ignition. The cool forecast over the next several days should keep surface fuels from becoming available for fire spread.

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 Parks Highway speed limit remains 45 mph through the fire vicinity.

Extreme caution and a high level of awareness is urged for residents within the fire perimeter and woodcutters along the Parks Highway.  Deep pockets of burning organic material called ashpits, along with snags pose significant dangers to anyone inside the burn area.  

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) 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: https://bit.ly/2lzpyZu for detailed contact information. 

The Disaster Assistance Center will be open for fire survivors to register for the State of Alaska Individual Assistance at the following location:

  • Willow United Methodist Church (29286 Parks Hwy) Willow, AK 99688
    • September 4-18 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m

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