McKinley fire has not increased in size but some active flames spotted

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - As of Saturday morning, the McKinley fire has not increased in size but there have been some active flames spotted, according to officials fighting the fire.

The fire had burned around 3,753 acres and was 10% contained by Friday morning. The fire has destroyed 51 homes, 3 businesses, and approximately 80 outbuildings, said Matanuska-Susitna Borough Emergency Services Director Ken Barkley.

On Saturday morning, incident meteorologist Mark Loeffelbein spoke on a video posted to the Division of Forestry's Facebook page. He said that there were winds forecast for the area Saturday morning around the McKinley fire but they were blowing above the inversion layer, not really impacting the fire area itself.

"It sounds like we got really lucky," said Kale Casey, a spokesperson for the Division of Forestry.

Firefighters are busy working to protect homes and contain the wildfire. "Crews continued mopping up and falling hazard trees around structures as they work to stabilize residential areas," read a release from the Bureau of Land Management.

Crews operating bulldozers are busy building containment areas around the fire and dealing with spot fires and flare-ups. According to officials, there has been some active fire behavior observed and "an increase in open flames, tree torching and smoke output."

A huge number of weakened trees, both burned and unburned, are making life more difficult for firefighters and impacting roads, the Alaska Railroad and power lines.

Matanuska Electric Association is said to be busy assisting crews with heavy equipment to safeguard power lines from fire-weakened trees. MEA is in the process of re-energizing main electric lines.