Photo Credit: AP [Editor’s note: For updates on Alaska’s fires, please click HERE] Fire crews are battling a second wildfire in Alaska and officials say hundreds of homes have been evacuated and six structures have burned.
The fast-moving blaze erupted Monday on the Kenai Peninsula, roughly 100 miles south of a major wildfire that started a day earlier near Willow in the heart of the state’s sled-dog community.
The new fire was first reported in the early afternoon as a 1-acre grass fire near the community of Sterling, but by early evening it had expanded to 640 acres was threatening some 200 homes.
Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources says in a news release that the “explosive wildland fire on the Kenai Peninsula forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes,” but did not provide a more precise figure. The statement said that it’s still unclear if the burned structures are homes or some other type of buildings . . .
The Willow fire has led to the voluntary evacuation of up to 1,700 structures and has struck the heart of sled dog country, including 15 or so mushers who call Willow home. (Read more from “Second Wildfire Prompts More Evacuations in Alaska” HERE)
Alaskan Mushers Risk Lives to Save Dogs
By Michael E. Miller. The dogs were the first ones to smell the smoke.
As a raging wildfire crept closer and closer to the Alaskan town of Willow on Sunday, the animals began barking before the alarms sounded.
But as smoke blackened the midnight sun over a community known for its dog sledding, the sport’s heroic stars couldn’t flee: They were stuck inside cages or bound with chains.
So their owners stayed, risking their lungs and lives and homes to rescue their beloved animals. Even as the smoke poured in. Even as the rest of their belongings went up in flames.
“The troopers may not have been very happy, but we had to go” help the dogs, DeeDee Jonrowe, a veteran dog musher, told local TV station KTUU. “The concept of any animal burning is just almost too much to bear.” (Read more from this story HERE)