Skilak fire close to contained; burn ban issued

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The more than 10,000-acre King County Creek Fire near Skilak Lake has reached 97 percent containment and most crews are pulling out this weekend, fire officials said Saturday.

Despite fire crews' success against the fire, open burning was halted Friday by forestry officials concerned by the continued dry, warm conditions. Permitted burning is suspended, although small campfires are still allowed.

Crews have finished mopping up remnants of the blaze along the Kenai River and Lower Olson Creek, fire officials said in a statement.

Crews are working today to clean up the fire's southern perimeter.

Local fire crews were also busy Friday responding to four new fires that popped up on the peninsula. Two lightning-caused blazes near Skilak Lake were being worked on Saturday, and a fire near Arc Loop Road was extinguised by forestry and Central Emergency Services personnel Friday. Another small fire was extinguished near Mackey Lake Road on Friday.

Officials from the state Department of Natural Resources said crews will focus on cleaning up damage caused by firefighting efforts because the fire is in a wilderness area.

Warm, dry weather with some wind is predicted through the weekend, so smokes may continue to pop up around the peninsula, officials said.

Clarion reporter Matt Tunseth contributed to this story.

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