by Phillip Manning ~ June 27th, 2013
Three new fires have been reported near the KTNA listening area since Wednesday. The Alaska Division of Forestry responded to a fire east of the Parks Highway on the Kashwitna River on Wednesday afternoon and reported it controlled by 10:00 pm Wednesday night. A very small fire was reported near Stephan Lake. Due to a shortage of resources, the Division of Forestry has not yet dispatched firefighters. Additionally, a fire was reported by a private pilot near the junction of the Susitna River and Watana Creek. The fire spread to approximately forty acres by the time the Division of Forestry responded with aircraft. The Watana fire received heavy precipitation during the evening, but is still being actively fought.
The Parks Highway was closed yesterday afternoon between milepost 317 and mile 344 due to a nearby fire that has grown to over 500 acres. According to the Division of Forestry Facebook page, the fire has not crossed the highway. Peter Buist (bYOOST) at the Interagency Coordination Center says that while the Parks was re-opened last night with the use of pilot cars, that the status of the road is intermittent, and that chances of getting through with a pilot car is better earlier in the day. Buist (bYOOST) says that the Division of Forestry is recommending using the Richardson Highway where possible.
In southwestern Alaska, the Lime Hills fire has gained over 90,000 acres in the last three days, and is currently reported at 5.5 miles east of the small village of Lime Hills. Hotshot crews continue to prepare contingency lines should the fire spread toward the village.