Anchorage

Anchorage fire crews bring small wildfire in Chester Creek area under control

Chester Creek Fire

A small brush fire in the Chester Creek greenbelt area west of Lake Otis Parkway in Anchorage was quickly brought under control Tuesday afternoon.

It was one of two small wildfires in the city that fire crews responded to Tuesday as warm, dry conditions have contributed to rising fire danger ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Chester Creek fire sent smoke into nearby neighborhoods around 2 p.m., but Assistant Chief Alex Boyd of the Anchorage Fire Department said crews had it under control about an hour later.

The brush fire was less than a half-acre, Boyd said.

Chester Creek Fire

Nine units from Anchorage Fire Department responded to the area, Boyd said, and the Division of Forestry used a helicopter to drop water in the area. The Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew was also at the scene Tuesday afternoon.

Crews with chain saws were clearing some trees and vegetation in the hopes of limiting potential fuel sources, said Tim Troxel with the Pioneer Peak crew. Firefighters were also creating a fire break, trying to ensure the tundra doesn’t burn longer and and doing other work as part of the mop-up process, Troxel said.

No structures were threatened and Boyd said there were no injuries.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire.

fire, summer, water drop
Chester Creek Fire
fire, summer, water drop

Firefighters were likely to remain in the area for several more hours, Boyd said just after 3 p.m. Maplewood Street was initially closed at East 24th Avenue, but Boyd said it was reopened by Tuesday evening. The Chester Creek greenbelt trail had been closed off in the vicinity of the fire.

High temperatures and dry conditions have increased fire danger in recent weeks. Anchorage prohibited open fires on Tuesday because of the increased risk.

[Alaska’s fire agencies are preparing for more starts during an already historic wildfire season]

A second small wildfire broke out in the Government Hill neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, drawing a quick response from local fire crews.

Boyd said that fire, also less than an acre, was reported at 3:40 p.m. and was burning primarily in grass and some brush.

Brush Fire

The small fire was reported on Northbluff Drive, near the end of East Bluff Drive, Boyd said, in a greenbelt area along the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson fence line.

A combination of Anchorage fire crews and units from JBER responded to the fire, and Boyd said Tuesday evening that it had also been brought under control and that crews were leaving the area.

Neither brush fire threatened any homes or people, Boyd said. Both were a little ways off the nearest roadway, making them slightly difficult to access, he said.

With current weather conditions around Anchorage remaining hot and dry, Boyd urged people to use caution during the approaching Independence Day weekend.

“The use of fireworks or open fires over this Fourth of July weekend, with current conditions, would be irresponsible and dangerous,” he said.

Statewide, nearly 1.4 million acres had already burned in 350 wildfires by Tuesday. More than half of the fires were started by people.

Daily News Visuals Editor Anne Raup contributed reporting.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

Megan Pacer

Megan Pacer is a digital audience producer at the Anchorage Daily News. A 2015 graduate of Central Michigan University, she's previously worked as a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai and the Homer News, and as a digital producer for Alaska's News Source in Anchorage. Contact her at mpacer@adn.com.

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