Better mapping drops acreage of McKinley Fire to 3,752 from 4,349

Managers are concerned about firefighter safety during mop up as burnt trees are susceptible to falling (Photo from Division of Forestry)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Managers say they are continuing progress on the McKinley Fire, which is now at 10 percent containment.

As winds subsided on Wednesday, firefighters continued a direct attack along the fire perimeter as dozers and crews secured structures along the fire's uncontained edge and helicopters continued water drops.

The better visibility allowed for more accurate mapping, which dropped the acreage estimate from yesterday's 4,349 to 3,752.

But a 20-acre hot spot on the east side of the Parks Highway near Milepost 84 caused some concern despite the progress. Managers say they hope to have that spot lined by today, Thursday.

On the west flank of the fire, managers say that they are continuing progress on a dozer line, a hand line, and are using the Susitna River as a further break. They say there was a flare up near Sheep Creek, but they were able to contain it.

One of the biggest worries now is the danger of fire-weakened trees falling on mop up crews installing pumps and hoses to spray on the fire.

The big concern coming into the weekend is the forecasted 15 mph winds, though managers are hopeful that higher humid and the chance of scattered precipitation could mitigate that.

Up to 80 structures are estimated to have been lost, as more accurate assessments are ongoing.

Pilot cars are still leading traffic between Mileposts 76 and 99 of the Parks Highway.

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