UPDATE 5:30 p.m.
The size of the Moose Meadows Fire is now estimated at 46 acres as of 5:10 p.m. due to more accurate mapping. Firefighters are getting a good handle on containment despite the increase in size. A second helicopter has been ordered to the fire to supplement the aircraft currently working on the fire, which includes two air retardant tankers, two air attack planes and a helicopter.
The public is asked to avoid the area so that firefighters can work to contain the fire without interference.
Approximately 60 wildland firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry are currently working to contain a 10-acre wildfire on the outskirts of Wasilla.
The Moose Meadows Fire was reported at 2:23 p.m. near Moose Meadows Road about 6 miles north of Wasilla. It was originally sized up at approximately 2.5 acres and had grown to about 5 acres by the time resources arrived on scene.
The Mat-Su Area Forestry station mounted an aggressive initial attack. A helicopter was called to the fire and immediately called for an air attack plane and a retardant tanker based in Palmer to assist with aerial suppression while firefighters mobilized a ground attack. Some firefighters hiked into the fire and others are using four-wheelers and UTVs to access the fire.
The 22-person Pioneer Peak Hotshot Crew is on scene along with four engines from the Mat-Su forestry station. Firefighters are currently working to get a hose lay around the perimeter of the fire while the helicopter is being used to drop water on the fire, which is burning in dead black spruce.
One load of retardant has been dropped around one edge of the fire and another air tanker and lead plane are enroue from Fairbank to assist. A burnout operation was being conducted to create a buffer between the fire and the retardant drop.
The plan is to box the fire in with retardant while firefighters on the ground wrap a hose line around the fire. Fire managers feel there is a good likelihood of success given the resources working on the fire. The 22-person Gannett Glacier Fire Crew based in Palmer is also enroute to the fire.
Two homes at the end of Moose Meadows Road are being evacuated as a precaution but those homes are not currently threatened.
Moose Meadows Road is a short road that turns into a high-use recreation trail that leads to Mount Baldy. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but fire managers said it is a human-caused fire, given the fact that no lightning was reported in the area.
A burn permit suspension remains in effect for much of the state, including the Mat-Su Valley, due to extremely dry conditions that have produced very high fire danger.