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Wildfires Force Hundreds to Flee Homes in Alaska

Posted by feww on June 24, 2015

Residents evacuated from Yukon River community

A lightning-sparked fire grew to more than 700 acres burning close to the Yukon River village of Nulato, prompting evacuations from the Athabascan community of 250 late Monday, said a report.

State Disaster

Gov. Walker declared a state disaster on June 19 in response to damages caused by multiple wild land fires on the Kenai Peninsula, including the Card Street Fire near Sterling.

“As of Friday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough evacuated hundreds of homes and established emergency shelters for residents displaced by the Card Street Fire. While winds have now shifted away from populated areas, the Card Street Fire has claimed more than 7,500 acres and is now burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.”

Walker also declared a state disaster in response to widespread damages caused by the Sockeye Fire in Willow and the surrounding region on June 16.

Fire Ban

Extremely dry conditions in the Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough have prompted Alaska Division of Forestry and the State Forester to prohibit the use of all open fires and activities, said Alaska DONR in a statement.

Alaska Fire Stats

  • Total no. of fires so far this year: >500
  • No. of fires in June: 310 [57 new fires ignited Monday]
  • Currently burning: 239 fires, burning on 320,000 acres
  • No. of Major fires currently active: 10
  • Total no. of structures destroyed or damaged: >100
    • The Sockeye wildfire in Willow has destroyed at least 55 homes (45 other properties have sustained major damage to outbuildings.)
    • The fire has displaced more than 800 people.
  • Largest fire: 34,000-acre Chisana River 2 fire in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve and the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildfires burning in 10 states

Wildfires also continue to burn in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, in addition to Alaska.

State of California

Some 1,922 fire crews are trying to control a 17,500-acre Lake Fire in n the Barton Flats area and in the northern portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness (San Bernardino National Forest) east of Los Angeles.

Two other fires, near San Luis Obispo, and the other outside Fresno, have destroyed more than two dozen structures.

State of Oregon

In Oregon, Gov. Brown has  declared drought emergencies for 20 out of Oregon’s 36 counties so far, said spokesman for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Large forest fire are burning in Siskiyou National Forest and Whitman National Forest.

State of Washington

Gov. Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency for Washington in May due to the snowpack being at historic lows, dwindling rivers and irrigation districts being forced to cut off water to farmers.


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