Fire crews around the state continue to fight wildfires from the interior to the Kenai Peninsula.
The McKinley Fire near mile 88 of the Parks Highway increased in intensity and has burned at least 50 structures and emergency responders work diligently to evacuate residents in the area from mile 82 to 91 to evacuation centers and account for those who have chosen to stay in their homes. The wildfire, driven by strong winds jumped the highway on Sunday and is now raging on the west side of the highway as of 6 pm Sunday. By late Sunday, the fire has increased in size to at least 1,800 acres.
The highway remains closed from milepost 71.25 to milepost 98.5. There is no estimate as to when the highway will re-open within those points.
That fire took off on Saturday afternoon when a downed powerline sparked the blaze at mile 91.
Deshka Landing Fire
Firefighters fighting the Deshka Landing blaze pulled back from the fire and focussed on protecting cabins in the area of Red Shirt Lake and making sure the eastern edge is secure and the fire does not push toward the Long Lake Road subdivision.
Intense winds pushed the 950-acre fire south approaching the South Rolly Campground as of 4:30 pm Sunday.
Swan Lake Fire
Extreme high winds on Saturday pushed the Swan Lake fire raging along the Sterling Highway across the highway at mile 60 into the Skilak Wildlife Recreational area. The fire continues to grow in the Thurman Creek, Mystery Creek and Dike River drainages.
Traffic on the highway between mile 53 to mile 75 was halted on Sunday afternoon and is expected to remain closed through Monday. The entire length of the Skilak Lake Road and trails have been shut down and the Russian River Ferry area was closed as well and cleared. All other previously announced closures in the area remain so.
A Ready 1 Evacuation Alert has been issued to Cooper Landing residences and businesses to advise them to prepare for potential evacuation if the need arises. Persons in the area are urged to check for further information on www.kpboem.com or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates.
Anchor Point Fire
The Alaska Interagency Fire Information Office reports that as of 10:20 pm Sunday night the Type 2 Initial Attack Yukon Crew was en route to assist the 20 firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry, Kachemak Emergency Services and the Anchor Point Fire & Emergency departments and two helicopters with water buckets fighting the fire raging on the North Fork to the east of mile 164-165 of the Sterling Highway just to the north of Homer.
That fire was reported at approximately 6:45 pm. While still in an initial phase, it has the potential to grow with the dry conditions and winds.