One Man's Alaska

Alaska fires update

June 24, 2007

At least two major fires continue to burn in Alaska. The really big fire is in Caribou Hills, and area in the Kenai Peninsula. That fire is currently over 50,000 acres in size (78 square miles, larger than the city of Louisville, Kentucky, my former home), and has destroyed more than 30 residential homes. It continues to burn out of control.

The fire closer to me -- about 35 miles to the southwest -- is at Trapper Lake. It's currently stopped at 9,700 acres, as cool, damp weather has helped to slow it down.

The air quality here in Talkeetna is much, much better than it was 48 hours ago. Friday afternoon I started packing my most important belongings in case we would need to evacuate Talkeetna, but fortunately that doesn't look like it will happen.

At that time the air quality here was very bad, as we were getting smoke from both fires. The thing I realized is that if the Trapper Lake fire were to jump the road and river we'd be in a world of trouble here in Talkeetna, as there's only one road out of town. (It doesn't seem likely that a fire could jump a road and a river, but people keep saying things like "The fire hasn't jumped the road or river yet", which makes it sound like it could.)

Since then the winds have shifted, making our air much easier to breath.

I've found three good online sources for news about the fires. The first is KTUU News, which covers the state. The second is KTNA, the local Talkeetna NPR affiliate. Then there's also the Anchorage Daily News. (I'm not a big fan of their site, though, it seems a little bloated to me.)

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