The McKinley Fire is currently estimated at 4,349 acres. It’s burning between Willow and Talkeetna. Currently, most of the fire activity is between mileposts 83 and 91 on the Parks Highway. Firefighters are working to assess and protect structures in the area. Officials estimate at least 80 structures have been destroyed by the fire. An evacuation order remains in effect from miles 82 to 91 on the Parks Highway.
The Parks Highway is open but drivers should be prepared for delays. Pilot cars are leading traffic between miles 76 and 99.
There is a temporary flight restriction is effect in the airspace around the fire.
The Deshka Landing Fire is estimated at around 2,217 acres, and moving very slowly south. According to fire officials, it hasn’t shown significant growth in the last 24 hours. It’s 5% contained. No structures have burned in the fire.
The Caribou Lake Fire is threatening around 30 cabins near Homer. The blaze, 25 miles northeast of the city, grew to an estimated 700 acres on Wednesday.
Public Information Officer Sara Saarloos says firefighters are facing several challenges as they work to combat the blaze. East winds, dry conditions and trees killed by spruce beetles are making conditions more difficult. Hot, dry weather is expected to increase difficulty.
Saarloos says the fire is estimated to be about a mile and a half from the closest structure. Structures at risk are a combination of homes and recreational cabins. Still, Saarloos says protecting those cabins has been the number one priority for fire crews, and there have been no evacuations.
The North Fork Fire, six miles northwest of Homer, is holding at 59 acres. Residents along North Fork Road, north of the fire, and communities along the Diamond Ridge Road to the South remain on notice to be ready to evacuate if necessary.
Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire is creating a dynamic situation on the Sterling Highway. The section of highway between miles 53 and 75 has closed intermittently since the weekend, as conditions vary. As of Wednesday afternoon, the road is open, but officials warn it could close again with little notice, and drivers should be prepared for delays.
The Cooper Landing and Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road are on notice to be ready to evacuate if necessary.
In Cooper Landing, a community meeting to discuss developments with the Swan Lake Fire is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Landing School. A similar meeting will be held at the Sterling Community Center Thursday at 6 p.m.
There is a temporary flight restriction in the area.
State fire officials say more crews are on the way to help fight the Levelock Fire in Bristol Bay. Firefighters are set to help smokejumpers and community members currently fighting the blaze. Officials estimate the fire has burned 5,000 acres.
The post The latest on Southcentral wildfires: Aug. 21, 2019 appeared first on Alaska Public Media.