Blaze roars near Chena Hot Springs

Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Some residents near the end of Chena Hot Springs Road were evacuated after a wildfire there blossomed to about 3,000 acres, fire authorities reported Friday, as dozens of firefighters worked to contain the spreading flames. One cabin was destroyed.

Four emergency crews were sent to battle the blaze on Thursday, and four more crews were ordered Friday, according to Andy Williams of the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. A helicopter, fire retardant, and traditional fire engines also were fighting the fire.

The blaze was north of the Chena Hot Springs Road, along the west fork of the Chena River. The road was closed to traffic at about Mile 50.

The fire apparently escaped from a burn pile. Several residents of nearby cabins were evacuated.

Near Livengood, seven fire crews were working on a blaze that covered about 800 acres. The crews were laying hose around the fire on both flanks, Williams said. The fire was burning within a couple miles of a small subdivision, he said, but the winds were light and generally blowing away from the homes.

Crews were being withdrawn from a fire near Kalskag that started in the village dump. Crews were attacking hot spots on that blaze, which scorched about 3,840 acres.

Another fire South of McGrath was about the same size. That human-caused fire began Wednesday and was being fought by sixteen smokejumpers and two helicopters

At Fort Greely, a fire on the bombing range torched an additional 2,500 acres to an estimated 39,100 acres. That fire, which began May 15, was being monitored but not actively fought.

Another fire on Eielson Air Force Base was 200 acres southeast of Fairbanks. That fire also was being monitored.

On Thursday, 16 new fires were reported to the coordination center and 13 were quickly extinguished or contained.

So far this year, 200 fires have burned 49,000 acres.

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