Rapidly-growing 3,000-acre wildfire burning on army training range near Fort Greely

Smoke billows from the 2,500-acre Oregon Lakes Impact Area Fire southwest of Fort Greely. (Photo by Tim Ellis/KUAC)

The wildfire burning on an Army training range seven miles southwest of Fort Greely has grown to 3,000 acres since Tuesday, according to BLM-Alaska Fire Service’s latest estimate.

BLM-Alaska Fire Service officials on Wednesday night revised their earlier estimate that the Oregon Lakes Impact Area Fire had grown to 4,000 acres.

The fire is burning in a remote spot west of the Delta River that was burned over by the 2013 Mississippi Fire. The impact area is littered with unexploded ordnance dropped by warplanes during training.

A BLM-Alaska Fire Service aerial photo shows where the Oregon Lakes Impact Area Fire started in an area west of the Delta River, and how winds out of the south and southwest have pushed it northward. (Grpahic courtesy of BLM-Alaska Fire Service)

The Oregon Lakes fire was reported Tuesday by Range Control personnel who manage the Donnelly Training Area near Fort Greely.

The fire kicked up tall columns of smoke that are visible throughout the area. The smoke drifted into the Delta Junction area on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A BLM-Alaska Fire Service spokesperson said rain forecast for today will likely slow or halt its progress.

The spokesperson said the fire service will continue to monitor the fire and work to contain it on Army-administered land.

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Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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