Fires in Mat-Su prompt evacuations, temporary flight restrictions
There were nearly a dozen fires in the Mat-Su on Saturday. Fires near the Parks Highway prompted evacuations and caused road closures due to visibility.
In a message posted after midnight Sunday, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough wrote an evacuation order was still active for the McKinley Fire, which is burning near the Wild Bill Way area.
In an alert sent earlier 2:25 Saturday afternoon, troopers said people living near Willow Creek Parkway, Lucky Shot Trail and Sunnybrook Way should be ready to leave if the order comes in.
In a subsequent alert at 3:38, troopers said people could return to their homes.
Ken Barkley, director of Matanuska-Susitna Borough Emergency Services, said by phone earlier in the day that helicopters fought the blaze.
Troopers alerted those living in the Wild Bill Way area near Mile 91 of the Parks Highway to evacuate Saturday evening. Troopers also told those who live between Mile 88 and Mile 92 to leave immediately.
At 7:10 p.m. the Matanuska-Susitna Borough posted an alert that the Parks Highway between Mile 88 and Mile 92 closed due to visibility.
People affected by the evacuation notice at or around Mile 92 of Parks Highway were told to evacuate to the Upper Susitna Center. An evacuation center was set up at Willow Community Center for those on the south side of the Parks Highway at or around Mile 88.
John See from the Division of Forestry said flames from the fire jumped the Alaska Railroad tracks and are threatening the subdivision on Wild Bill Way. Forestry believes wind gusts knocked down a power line which sparked the fire.
AK Fire Info says the fire is holding at 140 acres and is east of the Parks Highway. An air tanker and crews from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the Anchorage Fire Department are all working to contain the fire. Additional crews were also on their way Saturday evening to help in the efforts.
Deshka Landing Fire
The Deshka Landing Fire is estimated to be more than 200 acres near Mile Post 68, according to AK Fire Info.
"At last report, it was one-half mile from South Rolly Campground and fire managers have issued an evacuation notice for the campground," AK Fire Info wrote. "Fire personnel are also contacting anyone staying in cabins on Red Shirt Lake to [prepare] for a possible evacuation."
There are temporary flight restrictions in place over the Deshka Landing Fire.
By 10 p.m. Saturday, AK Fire Info said the Parks Highway reopened. Pilot cars lead traffic near the McKinley Fire around Mile Post 91. Fire managers advised motorists there would be delays and smoke in the area as well as emergency response vehicles on the road.
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