Live From the McKinley Fireline – Watch Massive 80,000 lb Remote Controlled Tree Grinder Work Along the Mat-Su Borough Right of Ways

Live from the fireline – McKinley Fire debris reduction operation along the Mat-Su Borough right of ways in Yancey West. This remote controlled 80,000 pound tracked horizontal grinder arrived today to help fire crews meet the suppression repair standards. An incident excavator operator feeds the remote controlled machine as Heavy Equipment Boss Grace Cooper provides oversight. Please ask questions as always we are here to serve you and your information needs.

The McKinley Fire started near Milepost 91 of the Parks Highway on Aug. 17, 2019. The Alaska Type 2 Interagency Incident Management Team assumed management of the fire the evening of Monday, Aug. 19. Transfer of command to the Northern Rockies Team #7 occurred on September 2nd at 7am. Operations has been based at the Willow Community Center. 

Operator and Division Supervisor oversee massive chipping operations along the Mat-Su Borough right of way. Photo credit: PIO Kale Casey/Alaska IMT/Alaska DNR
Operator and Division Supervisor oversee massive chipping operations along the Mat-Su Borough right of way. Photo credit: PIO Kale Casey/Alaska IMT/Alaska DNR

If you prefer, we post all videos and additional content to support our transparency campaign at our YouTube Channel: tinyurl.com/McKinleyFireYoutube

52 primary residences, 3 commercial structures and 84 outbuildings were destroyed in the fire by the evening of Aug. 18 and into the morning. The Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshal, and Alaska State Troopers have been working with the Alaska Division of Forestry and Matanuska-Susitna Borough to assist the communities in dealing with effects of the fire. 

Many of the fire personnel remaining on the incident responded to the 2015 Sockeye Fire. Because these crews live and work in the area, they have recent experience that will help guide their work. One of the main “watch out” situations is for alignments of downed fuels or stacked berms that could create what firefighters call “holdovers”. In a burn area this large and with the burn so deep, to a certain degree a few “holdovers” of hidden heat in berms or ash pits are inevitable. The more work that is completed now, the fewer issues firefighters will have to address next spring.

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.  

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 Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the McKinley Fire has been lifted.

Video credit: PIO Kale Casey/Alaska IMT/Alaska DOF

#akwildfire #alaskawildfire #dnrwildfire #msbem

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