Moose Creek Fire fully contained, crews to monitor hot spots
Last updated at 5:05 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21
The Moose Creek Fire north of Palmer along the Glenn Highway is now 100 percent contained, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF).
In an online statement late Friday afternoon, fire officials stated crews went around the perimeter Friday morning and declared the 303-acre fire fully contained.
The division will continue to monitor the fire for hot spots along the perimeter that may flare up, but that is not likely with the estimated 2 inches of snow Friday morning, incident commander Phil Blydenburgh said in the release.
A release earlier Friday from DOF stated crews reached 83 percent containment on the fire.
The perimeter of the fire, which is located about five miles south of Sutton just off the Glenn Highway, stood at about 303 acres.
“Given the weather and icy road conditions, the State Forestry office in Palmer sent only a small force out to the fire Friday morning,” officials wrote.
Following Thursday’s rain and Friday’s snowfall, officials are being cautious about sending unnecessary crews to the area.
“If we get someone injured on those back roads up there, they’re so slippery and messy that we’d have to get them out by ATV and we don’t want that,” said DOF Incident Commander Phil Blydenburgh.
A “dozer line” has been cut along the southwest edge of the fire to prevent the only unconfined portion from spreading.
Roughly 60 people are still working the fire as of Friday, according to DOF. Crews have marked the hot spots and will continue to monitor the fire’s condition over the weekend.
Updated at 2:40 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20
The latest fire map from the Alaska Division of Forestry shows the Moose Creek Fire is 70 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon.
“If (weather) stays the way it is right now we’re hoping for full containment by the end of shift Friday,” Phil Blydenburgh, Incident Commander with the Alaska Division of Forestry, said Thursday morning.
Roughly 80 firefighters from multiple local and state agencies were working the fire Wednesday, some tackling the blaze directly while others worked to free hose that froze during initial firefighting efforts.
High winds not only made their efforts to contain and control the fire difficult, but are also blamed for causing the fire. Fire investigators said Sunday the blaze likely started as a result of an escaped debris burn. The nearby King Fire also started because of the wind — a downed power line ignited a grass fire that quickly grew to roughly fives acres.
Updated at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18
Fire officials expect calmer winds to provide a bit of reprieve for firefighters working two Sutton-area wildfires Tuesday.
Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Tim Mowry said the 328-acre Moose Creek Fire had no “significant activity” overnight. By 8 p.m., firefighters were able to get a more accurate map of the fire, which is now estimated to be 303 acres and 46 percent contained.
The area saw winds with gusts up to 50 mph Monday, but on Tuesday the most forceful winds were expected to be pushing 25 to 30 mph.
“It will be a lot more manageable than it’s been,” Mowry said.
The King Fire, burning just miles away from the Moose Creek Fire, had a small flare up Monday night, but Mowry said it was quickly contained.
Crews are expected to mop up the King blaze Tuesday.
Mowry said he isn’t anticipating any additional resources being sent to either fire.
The Moose Creek Fire began Sunday by an escaped debris burn, DOF reported. Early efforts to combat the blaze were hindered by blasts of strong wind that knocked out power and caused road closures, as the gusts fueled the flames.
The King Fire was reported by a driver Monday, and burned near mile 68 of the Glenn Highway, about 10 miles from the Moose Creek Fire.
Early investigation showed the second fire sparked by a downed power line.
Watch KTVA News at 5 and 6 p.m. for the latest on these wildfires.
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