by Sue Deyoe ~ June 1st, 2011
The fire investigation for the Mae Loop Fire near Willow on Sunday is complete. The cause was an unattended burn barrel that did not have a wire or mesh cover screen. Joel Nudelman, fire information officer, reports that the permit holder had not burned anything that day and thought he’d taken precautions such as clearing defensible space and burning in the evening. It’s likely an escaped ember smoldered in the duff and reignited the following day, which had moderate winds.
The Division of Forestry reminds residents that they should have a cover for their burn containers as well as shovel and accessible water source.
Meanwhile, crews are working to put down a fire in Wrangell St Elias National Park that has burned eight hundred to one thousand acres. Park officials say personnel responded to the fire Wednesday evening near the Gilahina Trestle, west of McCarthy. A 20 person Gannitt Glacier crew out of Mat Su is currently on scene. Another type 2 crew is scheduled to arrive today .
Smoke is visible from McCarthy, Kennicott and Chitina. The road to McCarthy has not yet been affected.