Fire leaders thankful Chester Creek fire in area protected from wind

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage fire leaders say they are fortunate a wild land fire in Midtown was in an area protected from Friday's strong winds.

Crews responded to the fire before 4 p.m. Friday along the Chester Creek trail near East 20th Avenue and Karluk Street.

"When the call first came in we were all very concerned because of the wind conditions today, and our humidity has changed. We're drier and with the wind conditions it makes it very dangerous," Anchorage Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick said.

Hettrick says the Chester Creek corridor blocked much of the wind that was blowing consistently across much of the city.

"We were all very afraid until we dropped down in to this nice little valley and fortunately there is no wind down here, or very little wind. So that basically saved this fire from spreading throughout this entire greenbelt along the creek, so we're really fortunate," Hettrick said. "If this fire would have happened maybe behind the permit center over on Elmore where it's not a protected area where the wind was, I don't know if we would have caught it in time. Fortunately it's only about half an acre, but if it was wind driven it could've easily spread to two to five acres within minutes."

Fire leaders believe the fire was human caused.

Open fires are currently prohibited in Anchorage due to high fire danger. Grills and outdoor fireplaces that are elevated at least 12 inches off the ground and have a spark arrestor, chimney stack or screen are allowed, but Hettrick says to use them with caution at least 25 feet away from anything that can burn.

"If it's windy outside, man, don't even do that because you don't want embers spreading especially if you back up into a greenbelt or any part of the park or any woods," Hettrick said.

You check if there is are any burn restrictions in Anchorage here.

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