FAIRBANKS - Firefighting crews working on two major Interior forest fires were helped by cooling temperatures and increased humidity Thursday.
Both the Hastings Fire north of the Chatanika River and the East Volkmar Fire near Delta Junction continued to grow Thursday, but the growth was significantly slower than in previous days.
The East Volkmar Fire “was kind of doubling in size every day until we got some more precipitation,” said Sharon Roesch, public information officer for the Delta fire region. “At least we’ve stopped doubling.”
The fire had grown to 40,700 acres by Thursday and was moving in a northerly direction, according to Roesch. “I do expect it to grow, but not as much as it has been,” she said.
Crews had built 5 miles of fire line on the western flank and were continuing to do structure protection Thursday.
“Today should be a good day for building line,” Roesch said Thursday.
The 5,400-acre Hastings Fire was moving north and was 5 miles west of Hayes Creek Subdivision on Thursday. The fire was upgraded to a Type 1 Management Level, which allows the allocation of more resources. Eighteen crews of 20 firefighters each were battling the blaze Thursday, and more equipment was expected from the Alaska Division of Forestry and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Sarah Saarloos, public information officer for the Hastings Fire.
“Having this weather window has given us the opportunity to get our resources in place,” Saarloos said.
One cabin and an outbuilding burned the first day of the fire, but firefighters have been able to protect other threatened structures. “The people who own recreational cabins (along the Chatanika) have been really grateful,” Saarloos said.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7590.