Fire ignites at post range

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A training exercise on the Fort Wainwright small arms range Wednesday was blamed for starting a wildfire that has consumed 50-60 acres.

Motorists on the Richardson Highway south of Fairbanks could see the smoke from the fire about a mile away.

Alaska Fire Service spokesman Andy Williams said no structures are threatened.

''It is out there in the interior of the range,'' he said. ''The area is well protected from other areas where the fire might pose a concern.''

The area is mostly covered in grass, brush and black spruce.

Eight smokejumpers, two engines from the Fort Wainwright Fire Department and two helicopters worked on the fire Wednesday, Williams said, and were burning off vegetation near an access road into the area. The wind was blowing out of the northeast Wednesday evening, Williams said, which means the fire is expected to move toward the Tanana River.

The fire service often has prescribed burns in the range.

''We had been scheduled to have a prescribed fire in that exact area earlier this spring,'' he said. ''This is going to do what a prescribed burn would have done.''

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