Sled Dogs Safe, But Musher Stays To Protect Fire-Threatened Homestead

Silver, the lone dog left with Brent Sass in Eureka. CREDIT BRENT SASS / WILD AND FREE MUSHING
Silver, the lone dog left with Brent Sass in Eureka.
CREDIT BRENT SASS / WILD AND FREE MUSHING

The Sockeye Fire caused evacuation of hundreds of sled dogs from Willow area kennels earlier this month, and now new fires have forced movement of huskies from a remote kennel north of Fairbanks.

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Yukon Quest champion Brent Sass remains at his wildfire-threatened compound in Eureka, but his dogs are safe in Fairbanks. The Baker and North Fork wildfires are burning in the Eureka area,  west of the Elliot Highway between mileposts 131 and 137. Dog handler Tim Muto says Sass was away working Tuesday as flames began advancing, and he had to scramble to get dog boxes on trucks and move the animals.

Muto says the group of dogs trucked to a property Sass has in the Goldstream Valley includes several young puppies.

Muto says he’s impressed with how all the dogs handled the hectic trip.

Muto says the dogs have settled in well in Fairbanks.  He says he has no phone connection with Sass in Eureka, but suspects he’s working to fire prep the property, Muto says the Eureka property has a creek and pond on site that can aid in firefighting. He adds that as of yesterday, neighbors and fellow mushers Rick and Kelly Swenson planned to stay put in Eureka with about 20 dogs.