Stuart Creek Fire burning on military land east of Eielson Air Force Base has tripled in size over the last three days.
Pete Buist is a Fire Information Officer with Alaska’s Interagency Fire Information Center at Fort Wainwright.
“That fire started on June 19th, but it hadn’t been very active for quite a while. ” he said. “On Sunday and again on Monday it breached control lines to the north and west and made a really spectacular run. It exhibited extreme fire behavior burning in continuous black spruce.”
The human-caused fire has since grown to 45,000 acres. An enormous cloud of smoke is visible from the west side of Fairbanks. Ash fell from the sky along Chena Hotsprings Road Monday.
Scott Chesney lives just shy of milepost 15.
“It was kind of interesting. It was almost like a little snowfall,” he said. “It was a little spooky.”
The fire is burning within 15 miles of the Two Rivers. The tiny community has barely recovered from a wildfire scare last month that prompted an evacuation notice. Chesney says his belongings are still packed in case another notice is issued.
“We’ve got the stuff ready to go, you know load the truck. If we need to we could be ready in 20 minutes, 25 minutes to bail,” Chesney said.
Multiple retardant tankers and water scoopers worked the fire through Sunday evening. Smoke jumpers and bulldozers were also fighting the blaze Monday. A helicopter was used to map it.
Officials with the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center say fighting the fire is challenging because of the threat of unexploded ordnance on military land.