Kobe fire up to 1,200 acres but growth slows; dozens of new fires in Southwest Alaska

Managers talk to residents near Kobe Fire (Chris Noel of Denali Borough)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Kobe fire that led to an evacuation alert last night has grown from about 150 to 1,200 acres over the last 24 hours despite higher humidity and cooler temperatures. Still, only one outbuilding is confirmed lost.

Both the Kobe Ag and Anderson subdivisions (not to be confused with the City of Anderson) were on “Level 3: Go” evacuation notice. The subdivisions are about 10 miles south of the City of Anderson, and are located at about Mile 275 of the Parks Highway. It is on a “Level 2: Set” evacuation notice.

An explanation of evacuation notices can be found here.

Managers said that most of the growth occurred last night before the higher humidity rolled in. Fires at the time were jumping from treetop to treetop in a behavior managers call “crowning”. That extreme behavior can throw sparks up to a half-mile in front of the fire, causing spot fires in front of the main fire line.

However, they say that the dense smoke around the fire made it impossible to fly in smokejumpers and hotshot crews, and the firefighters had to approach from Fairbanks on the roads. Crews are now building a containment line with three bulldozers.

An evacuation shelter was set up at the Tri-Valley School in Healy.

New fires sparked by lightning across Southwest Alaska

At least 30 new fires have been detected in Southwest Alaska after a string of lightning strikes rolled through the area yesterday.

Because of the quantity of fires, managers are prioritizing the protection of important areas and property such as “villages, commercial and historical infrastructure, remote cabins and Native Alaskan allotments of land.”

Among these, the Devil’s Elbow Fire is about 60 miles south of McGrath and is currently threatening some cabins, Native Alaskan allotments, and a sawmill operation.

The 200-acre Tundra Lake Fire 50 miles northwest of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is being staffed by eight smokejumpers to defend a cabin and a Native Alaskan allotment.

The Hidden Creek Fire is 20 miles northwest of McGrath and is being fought by seven smokejumpers and fifteen firefighters who are protecting the Nixon Fork Gold Mine in the area. The fire is currently at 200 acres.

Fairbanks alerts downgraded

Firefighters completed their efforts to connect a line from Old Murphy Dome Road to the Chatanika River, allowing the to reduce the McCloud, Martin and Perfect Perch neighborhoods from “Level 2:Set”, to “Level 1:Ready”. The Chatanika River corridor, Drouin, Hardluck, Moose Mountain, Coyote Jones, Hattie Creek, Lincoln Creek, Murphy and Vancouver neighborhoods were reduced from “Level 1:Ready” to having no evacuation notice.

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