Investigators believe MLK Fire was caused by human activity
The Division of Forestry believes an East Anchorage wildfire that blackened 25 acres near Elmore and Tudor roads last Tuesday was started by human activity, although the exact cause remains under investigation and has yet to be determined.
“There is a lot of evidence of human activity in the area of the fire zone,” said Assistant Anchorage Fire Chief Alex Boyd. “So finding an origin for this fire or a cause has been very challenging just because there is so much evidence of human behavior.”
The fire is considered officially contained, but work on it has not stopped.
Up until Tuesday, Boyd says at least 14 people from the Anchorage Fire Department were on the scene of the fire daily. Now, the work goes to a crew from the Idaho Department of Lands, who will be mopping up hot spots and cutting down blackened trees.
Boyd says the MLK Fire may be out, but the danger of another large wildfire in Anchorage is very real. He says conditions are worse right now than they were a week ago when the fire started.
“The biggest fear we have right now is that it will happen again and more so,“ he said. “The fuels continue to become more and more volatile meaning that they're becoming more dry. The moisture is coming out of them and the fire potential goes way up as that happens.”
Boyd says the fire danger will decrease with rain, but only if it pours for several days.
“A light rain, a thunderstorm, anything of that nature is not enough to get these fuels back in the safe zone for us. And that’s one of the bigger concerns is that with rain may come complacency,” he said. “These fuels are just as dangerous after a short rain shower.’’
Boyd expects the Idaho crew will remain on the scene of the fire until at least Friday. After that, DOF will monitor the area for flare-ups.
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified the Idaho crew as a part of the U.S. Forest Service. They are a part of the Idaho Department of Lands.
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