Standing water, snow slow spread of 33-acre wildfire north of Talkeetna

A wildfire north of Talkeetna was estimated at nearly 33 acres Tuesday morning but burning slowly amid standing water and even some snow.

Firefighters and air tankers deployed to to the Prairie Fire, about 40 miles northeast of Talkeetna and east of Prairie Creek, on Monday. Tankers dropped four loads of retardant in the fire Monday evening.

The fire was originally described as 3 to 5 acres and moving toward two cabins and a hunting lodge on Stephan Lake.

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By Tuesday morning, the size-up grew to 32.5 acres but the fire wasn't "spreading rapidly or burning super deep" thanks to the still-wet conditions in the area, Division of Forestry fire spokesman Tim Mowry said in an email.

The Stephan Lake Lodge was not immediately threatened by the fire, which was about four miles away, Mowry said. No structures had been lost.

Firefighters worked until midnight Monday cutting out helicopter landing zones in case of a medevac, he said. They planned to start cutting a line around the fire Tuesday, a job they expected to finish within two days.

Crews are using the lodge airstrip to shuttle in personnel and supplies.

Fire suppression began around 5 p.m. Monday when three firefighters in Palmer were taken to the fire by helicopter, according to a division statement.

Air tankers from Palmer and Fairbanks were also dispatched to the fire.

The 20-person Pioneer Peak hotshot crew shuttled in Monday, along with half of the Gannett Glacier crew by evening. The rest of the Gannett Glacier crew and supplies were getting shuttled in Tuesday morning, Mowry said.

Officials don't yet know how the fire started.