WORLD Evacuation of residents ordered as wildfire rages in Alaska


Evacuation of residents ordered as wildfire rages in Alaska


20:57, July 08, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Residents near Talkeetna in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska have been ordered to evacuate after a new wildfire was reported Sunday, authorities said.


A helicopter passes by as smoke rises from a wildfire on July 3, 2019 south of Talkeetna, Alaska near the Gorge Parks Highway. (Photo: VCG)

Officials of the Alaska Division of Forestry said the new fire ignited about one mile (1.6 km) north of the already-burning Montana Creek wildfire was estimated at 60 acres (24.28 ha). One structure has been burned down.

"The fire is burning in black spruce and is sending up a large column of smoke. The fire is moving toward Montana Creek Road," the Division of Forestry said, adding that the evacuation order was issued Sunday afternoon.

"Crews are getting help from water scooping aircraft, air tankers dropping retardant, and Blackhawk helicopters dropping water on the fire," it added.

The division said firefighters are working on a plan to protect structures in the path of the fire.

Elsewhere in South-central Alaska, officials closed some forest lands in the area as the growing Swan Lake wildfire was spreading to the edge of the Chugach National Forest on the Kenai Peninsula over the weekend as a result of hot, dry weather.

The Swan Lake fire, which was started by a lightning strike on June 5, was estimated at about 144 square miles (about 373 square km) while it was burning over the past month.

Alaska has experienced usually hot weather this month, with Anchorage breaking the all-time high temperature in 50 years when it hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) last Thursday. Hot weather has increased risks of wildfires in the state.

The normal high temperature for July 4 in Anchorage is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius), according to local media.

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