Interior firefighters corral three wildfires

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Interior wildfire crews battled three wildfires that started over the weekend.

None of the three, which blackened more than 900 acres, have burned any homes, according to Alaska Fire Service spokesman Andy Williams.

Two fires started Saturday. As of noon Sunday, the largest had burned 425 acres near a small subdivision on the Steese Highway about 60 miles north of Fairbanks.

At least five crews and several aircraft worked on that human-caused fire, Williams said.

''They are trying to keep it from spreading into the Ptarmigan Creek drainage,'' he said. That drainage contains acres of spruce trees.

About five homes are spread throughout a 200-acre area near the fire, Williams said, and engine crews spent time at each doing prevention work in case the fire came closer.

A lighting strike started the second fire Saturday near the Goodpaster River about 25 miles northeast of Delta Junction.

''They have been dropping retardant on that one,'' Williams said.

That fire had covered about 120 acres as of Sunday morning, he said.

''We are trying to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to areas where residential property may exist,'' he said.

The third fire started Friday about 25 miles east of McGrath. It had burned about 400 acres as of about noon Sunday.

Williams said fire crews were making progress on containment.

Fire crews responded to small fires during the weekend but knocked them down quickly.

''In terms of new starts, there hasn't been much this afternoon to give us concern,'' Williams said. ''But, the weather conditions are such that it is extremely high potential for new fires to start if people are careless.''

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