Tyonek fire burns 3 structures

Firefighters have determined the 1,500-acre Tyonek fire had consumed, officials reported on Wednesday.

The fire destroyed a cabin and two outbuildings, fire spokesman Pete Buist said. It had not reached the Beluga power station, which burns natural gas and provides power to Anchorage.

“It’s an issue, but it’s not imminent,” he said.

The fire moved south Tuesday had prompted a short evacuation of Tyonek. Winds dropped, residents returned to Tyonek and the fire became more active in the north toward Beluga, where just 20 people live.

Three 20-person ground crews concentrated efforts on the north end, assisted by air tankers dropping retardant and three helicopters dropping buckets of water, Buist said. The Nikiski Fire Department worked on creating “defensible space” around cabins and a compressor station, Buist said.

Far to the north in interior Alaska, 16 smokejumpers worked to protect buildings from a fire east of the Dalton Highway at the Yukon River Bridge. Structures west of the highway, including a restaurant and cabins, could be in the fire’s path if it crosses the highway.

The fire Wednesday afternoon was a mile or two from the highway and the tran-Alaska pipeline. It was burning west and could cross over the pipeline and reach the highway Wednesday night, Buist said.

Wildfires have crossed the metal pipeline in the past, he said, without causing major damage.

— The Associated Press

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