Alaskan firefighters seem overwhelmed in their battle against quick-growing wildfires. The wildfire spread has forced evacuations all across Alaska as hundreds of homes have already undergone mandatory evacuations. More than 20 structures were consumed by the flames.
The blaze started Sunday in the Willow area and by Monday, it had already displaced hundreds of residents. By Monday evening, people in areas neighbouring the affected areas had been offering to house other evacuated residents.
Authorities released a statement on Monday, claiming that the blaze had already been estimated at approximately 6,500 acres.
According to Casey Cook, Mat SU Borough Emergency Services Director, people may expect to return to their homes on Tuesday at the earliest, if authorities manage to control the fire.
Because of the fire, the Parks Highway was closed for Sunday afternoon and evening. Authorities worked on halting vehicles around Mile 66 and alternating traffic both north and south.
“The fire laid down last night, pretty much in the same area that it was,” Pam Ness, Matanuska-Susitna Borough spokeswoman said.
However, on Monday, a second blaze erupted on the Kenai Peninsula, just 100 miles from where the first wildfire started on Sunday. Although the fire started as 1-acre grass fire just outside of Sterling, by Monday evening, it had spread to 640 acres. Authorities feared that approximately 200 homes could lie in its wake.
The Borough is attempting to identify how many homes burned down in the fire by doing a neighborhood by neighborhood assessment.
This explosive wild land fire, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources explains, has forced the evacuation of several hundreds of homes in the Kenai Peninsula. Authorities have set up two emergency shelters for evacuees.
Luckily, there were no reports of serious injuries connected to the two fires.
Gov. Bill Walker took an aerial tour of the wildfire on Monday and decided to accept the request of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough request of declaring a state of disaster for the area in question.
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