Lateseason fire burning near Sutton

first_imgSurface fuels burn in the Moose Creek Fire late Saturday afternoon near Sutton. The fire is now estimated at 216 acres and there are 50 personnel working to suppress it. (Photo by Sarah Saarloos/Alaska Division of Forestry)A late-season fire near near Sutton is keeping fire crews on their toes.Listen Now The Moose Creek Fire was reported early Saturday morning, and as of Sunday afternoon is charted at around 300 acres.Tim Mowry is a public information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry.He says most of the firefighting efforts are focused on the western perimeter, which is the most active.“It’s been a real challenge with cold conditions – we’ve got hoses freezing up, pumps freezing up – and it’s nasty, nasty conditions,” Mowry said. “Twenty to 30 mile an hour winds that helping to drive this fire and just making it miserable for our guys out there fighting it.”Mowry says about 50 personnel from nearly every agency with firefighting resources in the state are working the blaze:“We’ve got the Division of Forestry, the Alaska Fire Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service,” he said. “We really had to beat the bushes to get personnel to get on this fire because we laid most of our personnel off, seeing as it is mid-October and fire season is typically over by now.”Multiple local fire departments have also been called into action, and Mowry says helicopters and heavy equipment are also in use.A map showing the perimeter of the 216-acre Moose Creek Fire as of 8 p.m. Saturday. (Map by the Alaska Division of Forestry)The Glenn Highway has remained open and no evacuation orders have been issued, but Mowry says driver should be cautious.“There are gonna be a lot of firefighting personnel and firefighting equipment on the road,” he said.The Palmer Correctional Center was under an evacuation advisory.Because the Department of Corrections was already planning on closing the facility within the next few weeks, DoC spokesperson Corey Allen-Young says the department opted to move prisoners ahead of schedule to other correctional facilities around Southcentral and the Kenai Peninsula.The Moose Creek Fire is burning about 5 miles south of Sutton.UPDATE: 10/17 at 3 p.m. by Ellen LockyerA 300 acre wildfire near Sutton came dangerously close to the Glenn Highway Monday morning. The highway was temporarily closed at mile 54 while firefighting crews used a bulldozer to construct a fire line to prevent the flames from reaching the road.The highway was reopened around 11 am, but motorists are asked to expect delays due to smoke and firefighting crews along the road between mile 54 and 58.Meanwhile, windy conditions are thwarting fire crews efforts to contain the Moose Creek blaze.Fire information officer Tim Mowry said most of the fire fighting efforts are focused on the western perimeter, which is the most active.“It’s been a real challenge with cold conditions – we’ve got hoses freezing up, pumps freezing up – and it’s nasty, nasty conditions, you know 20-30 mile an hour winds that helping to drive this fire and just making it miserable for our guys out there fighting it,” Mowry said.About 50 additional firefighters are being brought in Monday to support the effort. The state division of forestry had laid off most fire crews at the usual end of the summer fire season, so personnel from the Alaska Air National Guard and from the BLM Alaska Fire Service have been called in to help local crews.The Moose Creek Fire was reported early Saturday morning. Strong winds and cold temperatures in the Mat Su during the past three days have hampered firefighting efforts. The high winds have caused spot fires produced by flying embers. And winds have knocked out power in some areas, sparking at least one new fire Monday. Norm MacDonald is a state fire division manager.“We’ve had several other fires this morning, last night. And we have a new five acre fire up by King River, just past Sutton, we’re working on right now,” MacDonald said. “We’ve got two helicopters and a couple of engines on that fire, caused by a downed power line.”This most recent fire is about 10 miles from the Moose Creek blaze. Winds are expected to subside by tomorrow, giving crews a better chance to contain the fires.last_img read more

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