Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Su River Fire 4,000 acres

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

MAT-SU—The Su River Fire, west of the Susitna River and about five miles west of mile 79 of the Parks Highway, has burned 4,000 acres, as of 1 pm. The head of the fire is moving north and is about a ¬ľ mile south of Trapper Lake. Alaska State Troopers helped evacuate three people from remote cabins last night. Three others flew out in their own plane. Troopers are working on an evacuation order for the area. A flight restriction is in place over five square miles of the area. One cabin has burned. Twenty cabins are threatened and more could be later today. Heavy smoke is in the Willow area. Residents have called reporting ash drifting into Willow and Talkeetna. "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. The State Division of Forestry has mobilized three tankers and several Alaska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, adding to the available firefighting resources, to drop retardant and water on the fire south of Trapper Lake. A type II team has been ordered from the Lower 48 and is en route. The Susitna Valley region was hammered by lightning from thunder cells Wednesday night. Lightning strikes ignited 14 fires last night, and 14 new ones started today. "Our goal today is to keep the new fires small," said Norm McDonald with the state Division of Forestry at a morning briefing. "Initial attack is the priority for our firefighting efforts", he added. Two small fires are in the vicinity of mile 141 off the Parks Highway and another one three or four miles up the highway. Last night, two Forestry crews concentrated efforts on the Lake Creek fire, dropping retardant and water through the night. That fire was 55-acres this morning near the confluence of the Yentna River and Lake Creek. The forecast calls for warm temperatures and low humidity. Additional thunderstorms with lightning and little rain are expected again this evening. Fire danger is extremely high. For more fire information call Matt Weaver or Patty Sullivan at 761-6233. Check the MAT-SU Borough Web site for a map showing the perimeter of the fire as well as press releases. Tune into radio stations KTNA in Talkeetna and KMBQ in Wasilla, 99.7. KTUU Channel 2 will also have updates.