Update: Sunday, June 21, 11:20 am
Fire managers report the Sockeye fire is now 53% contained. They expect the cooler, more humid weather to help crews make good progress further securing the edge of the fire today.
Update: Saturday, June 20, 1:00 pm
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity are aiding efforts to contain the Sockeye fire near Willow. The fire is now considered fifteen percent contained. All evacuation orders have been lifted. Only residents will be allowed into these areas. Traffic control points between mile 71-Willow Fishhook Road and mile 78-Sheep Creek Road remain in place. Pilot cars will assist traffic. Travelers should expect delays. The reduced, temporary flight restrictions remain in place for the Sockeye fire area.
Update: Friday, June 19. 5:00 pm
The Sockeye Fire near Willow is five percent contained. Fire information officer Sarah Sarloos says the progress is made at the Northern portion of the perimeter. But a recent windshift could change that. Sarloos says the wind is from the South pushing North, with gusts of 20 mph, and that could test the gains made by firefighters.
Almost 600 firefighters remain on the job, for just such a possibility, and they will stay on the Sockeye Fire for at least two more days.
Update: Friday, June 19. 7:00 am.
Managers of the Sockeye Fire near Willow plan to begin letting residents back into the evacuation area Friday. At 10 this morning, the evacuation zone will be reduced to the fire perimeter line, controlled by nine security checkpoints. Homeowners who have lost homes will be let into the fire zone, starting at 11. The evacuation is set to end entirely on Saturday but security checkpoints will remain in place through the weekend. On the Parks Highway, traffic will be controlled between mileposts 71 and 78 until Monday. Authorities are also reducing the flight restrictions this morning, starting at 8, to allow airplanes into Long Lake, Willow Lake and the Willow Airport. At least 26 homes were destroyed in the 7,000-acre blaze. Firefighters are still working in the area to put out hotspots.