Person found dead after house fire on property near Talkeetna where wildfire started

PALMER — Alaska State Troopers said a person was found dead early Tuesday in a house fire near Talkeetna at the same location where a fast-moving wildland fire started Saturday.

The Montana Creek Fire ignited Saturday afternoon near the Parks Highway and a crowded campground but expanded to the northwest, away from the highway and campers. A state fire information officer on Tuesday confirmed that a vehicle fire started the blaze after flames spread into nearby black spruce and took off.

Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said the structure where the person was found dead early Tuesday in a fire “is the same location where the Montana Creek Fire started.”

Both fires occurred on South Dog Sled Drive near Talkeetna, authorities say. It wasn’t immediately clear what, if any, connection existed between them.

The cause of the fatal house fire remained under investigation on Tuesday, troopers said.

The fire occurred in a shack or cabin with one person inside, on a property with multiple people living on it, DeSpain said in an email. The property’s owner, who is staying in an RV while building a separate cabin, called 911 at 1:20 a.m. when they saw the building was on fire, he said.

The State Fire Marshal Office responded to the scene of the fire, troopers said. The person’s body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner Office for autopsy and positive identification.


The Montana Creek Fire, about 16 miles south of Talkeetna, remained 40% contained on Tuesday with 90 people working it, according to a state Division of Forestry fire update.

Crews had placed hose lines all the way around the fire’s perimeter by Tuesday afternoon, according to fire information officer Kim Hemenway. Moderate humidity and lower winds were forecast Tuesday and Wednesday, Hemenway said.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at