UPDATE 9:30 P.M. – The Moose Meadows Fire north of Wasilla is 40 percent contained. Crews are continuing to lay hose around the fire to provide a water supply that will help boost containment. Aircraft have finished aerial support efforts and ground firefighters will remain on the fireline until late into the evening before re-engaging early tomorrow morning.
The public is asked to please stay out of the area to assist firefighters with ingress and egress.
Firefighters are still working hard to control what is now estimated to be a 42-acre wildfire approximately 6 miles north of Wasilla in the area of Moose Meadows Road.
There are 62 personnel currently engaged, including six different tactical aircraft who are providing aerial support for firefighters on the ground.
The two air tankers working on the fire have made 11 retardant drops to “box in” the fire on all four sides and burnout operations have been utilized to provide a buffer between retardant lines and the main fire where possible. Two helicopters have been making strategic water drops to support firefighters on the ground who are working to get a hose line around the fire.
The Pioneer Peak Hotshot Crew and Gannett Glacier Fire Crew, both based in Palmer, are leading the attack on the ground with assistance from Mat-Su Area Forestry firefighters. The West Lakes Fire Department has apparatus and personnel on scene to assist with water support.
The fire remains 0 percent contained but fire managers are confident they will be able to contain the fire with the aggressive initial attack response and the resources assigned to the fire. No structures are currently threatened and the fire has moved west from its origin, away from structures.
The Moose Meadows Fire was reported at 2:23 p.m. on Moose Meadows Road about 6 miles north of Wasilla. Moose Meadows Road is a short road that turns into a high-use recreation trail that leads to Mount Baldy.
The fire 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 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.
With no significant precipitation since the snow pack melted off a month ago and greenup still in process, conditions in the Mat-Su Valley are extremely dry and the wildfire danger is very high. A burn permit suspension has been in effect since May 1 prohibiting the use of burn barrels and debris burning for the Mat-Su area and the rest of the state with the exception of Southeast Alaska.
The Division of Forestry asks the public to adhere to the burn permit suspension in place and be extremely cautions with any kind of activity that could spark a wildfire in these volatile conditions.