Matanuska-Susitna Borough

40 cabins/homes threatened by Su River fire

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Thursday, June 28, 2007

MAT-SU 5:30pm--The Su River Fire near Trapper Lake has increased to 5,574 acres. The blaze is crowning in tree tops and spotting ahead of the main fire. A state Division of Forestry crew is on the ground fighting the fire near the structures along the south end of the lake. Airtanker drops through the afternoon have reinforced the firefighters' efforts to protect structures. Two cabins/homes are immediately threatened and nearly 40 additional ones are at risk.

A helicopter is assigned to the fire to shuttle fire crew-members to protect the two homes and reinforce their efforts using bucket drops.

The Su River Fire at Trapper Lake is west of the Susitna River and about five miles west of Caswell. The smoke drifted across the Parks Highway during the afternoon, dropping cool embers but raising concerns about the possibility of spotting across the road. Firefighters are monitoring the smoke and watching for spotting. Currently the risk of spotting across the highway is minimal. Persons with respiratory problems should move from smoky areas, if necessary.

A temporary flight restriction is in place over five square miles of the area.

One cabin reportedly has burned, but has not been confirmed.

Winds are variable, but gusts were reported pushing the fire west away from the river in late afternoon. Heavy smoke has moved into Talkeetna.

A shelter is open at Willow Area Community Center at about mile 68 of the Parks Highway for people who may want to get out of the smoke or who have respiratory problems. The American Red Cross is staffing the relief center.

"The area is remote and off the road system, adding to the difficulty in responding to the lightning-sparked blaze," according to John See, Regional Fire Manager, who spoke earlier in the day. A type II team from central Oregon has been ordered from the Lower 48 and is en route.

Last night, two Forestry crews concentrated efforts on the Yentna Fire, located two miles up Lake Creek, dropping retardant and water throughout the night. That fire was mapped at 55-acres this morning near the confluence of the Yentna River and Lake Creek.

A small fire near mile 139 on the Parks Highway was nearly contained by firefighters by late afternoon. It was about 1.2 acres a half mile off the Parks Highway.

For more fire information call Matt Weaver with Forestry at 761-6233. Check the Division of Forestry Web site for more updates tonight. This email will not be actively monitoring the fire tomorrow.

Tune into radio stations KTNA in Talkeetna and KMBQ in Wasilla, 99.7. KTUU Channel 2 will also have updates.