Firefighters worked until 11 p.m. Saturday and were back at it at 8 a.m. Sunday as they work to contain a wildfire approximately 6 miles north of Wasilla.
The size of the Moose Meadows Fire increased from 42 to 56 acres overnight but it was a result of better mapping more than fire growth. The fire remains 40 percent contained and firefighters are hoping to achieve full containment by the end of shift today.
The fire is located near Moose Meadows Road, a short dirt road that turns into a high-use recreation trail leading to Mount Baldy in the foothills of the Talkeetna Mountains
Approximately 45 personnel are working to mop up the fire. Both the Pioneer Peak Hotshot Crew and Gannett Glacier Fire Crew are seeking out and extinguishing any hot spots that are found, as well as cutting down fire-weakened trees that could endanger firefighters. Firefighters were able to get a hose line around the entire fire perimeter on Saturday and water tenders from the West Lakes Fire Department are providing a water supply.
The fire is believed to be human caused but officials are still investigating the specific cause. A fire investigator has been ordered and will arrive today to begin an investigation.
The public is asked to avoid the area and not interfere with firefighter ingress and egress.
The fire was reported at 2:23 p.m. Saturday and was originally sized up at approximately 2 acres. It grew 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.
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.