Anchorage

Small wildfire smolders near McHugh Creek above Seward Highway

Drivers along the Seward Highway south of Anchorage may have seen smoke Thursday as crews responded to a small wildfire near McHugh Creek.

The Anchorage Fire Department said in a statement that its crews initially responded to the fire -- which it estimated at about 1 to 2 acres in size, with no sign of rapid growth -- about 45 minutes up a trail north of McHugh Creek at about 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The state Division of Forestry responded to the fire Thursday morning with two engines and found "a 1/2 acre fire in a mix of grass and spruce," according to a later update from AFD. Officials anticipated the fire would be extinguished by Friday morning.

No helicopters or tanker aircraft were tapped to fight the fire, based on initial observations Thursday.

"I talked to a park ranger who had binoculars on it this morning," Norm McDonald, a Division of Forestry spokesman, said early Thursday. "He said it wasn't doing much, just smoking."

In February, firefighters said Southcentral Alaska's 2016 wildfire season is poised to be longer and more dangerous than usual, with a lack of snow letting fires begin earlier in the year and burn higher than they would with winter snowpack compacting underbrush.

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