Firefighters battle blaze near Anderson subdivision

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Firefighters on Tuesday were beginning to gain an upper hand on a wildfire that forced the evacuation of some homes in an Anderson subdivision, state fire officials said.

The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 4 miles from the structures, said Pete Buist with the Alaska Division of Forestry. Winds as fast as 20 mph fueled the blaze dubbed the Rex Bridge fire.

By Tuesday the winds had subsided, but not before the fire burned about 1,000 acres. Officials initially put the burned area at 1,500 acres then later issued the smaller figure.

Buist said the fire was running and spotting through black spruce in an area where the Parks Highway crosses the Nenana River.

The river served as a natural barrier for the east flank of the blaze, while the north flank was slowed when it reached the site of a 1991 fire, Buist said. So fire crews were focusing much of their efforts Tuesday on the vulnerable west flank, Buist said.

The fire was blamed on an illegal smoldering burn pile that spread into the woods, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. Three structures had burned by Tuesday morning.

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