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East Anchorage wildfire expected to be out in 2-3 days, fire officials say

Authorities expect the 25-acre wildfire still smoldering in the Campbell Park area of East Anchorage to be extinguished in the next two or three days, a Division of Forestry spokesman said Thursday.

The fire, which prompted brief evacuations and a swift firefighting response from multiple agencies Tuesday afternoon, had reached 90% containment by Thursday morning, according to Tim Mowry, a spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Mowry said firefighters managed to cut the vegetation around the perimeter of the fire Wednesday to keep it from spreading, though flare-ups shortly after midnight threw embers outside the containment line, igniting additional flames.

Firefighters were able to douse those smaller fires quickly, he said.

The Division of Forestry and the Anchorage Police Department plan to fly an infrared drone over the area Thursday to search for hot spots in the fire’s interior.

About 24 people are still working on the fire after one crew was reassigned to the 250-acre Montana Creek fire that ignited Wednesday south of Talkeetna.

“It goes without saying that we have enough on our plate with fires around the state,” Mowry said.

The cause of the Anchorage fire is still under investigation. Despite a situation report published by the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center that describes the fire as human-caused, the Division of Forestry has not yet determined whether the fire was caused by humans or a natural trigger like lightning, he said.

Fire crews have been able to lay hose around the fire, cutting down trees and vegetation where they needed, and officials are very confident the fire will not grow or escape the control line, Stephanie Bishop, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Division of Forestry said Thursday evening.

Firefighters are now working inward from the perimeter of the fire. Fire officials warned that people may see what appear to be flare-ups, which are trees and fuel burning that did not ignite in the initial fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Bishop said these trees were “deep into the fire’s interior” and people should not be alarmed if they see additional smoke coming from the fire.

Because of the hot and dry weather conditions, fire officials did not make an estimate on when they would be finished mopping up in East Anchorage.

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