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Crews stay ahead of Mat-Su wildfires, borough says

Update noon Monday:

The Horseshoe Lake fire in Mat-Su has more than doubled in size since Sunday, but firefighting crews bulldozed a line around it that should help keep the 52-acre fire from spreading, the borough wrote in an online update Monday.

Additional crews from Fairbanks are expected to arrive in the Mat-Su by 1 p.m.

Monday morning, two helicopters were also assisting.

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Sunday story:

Firefighting crews worked to contain two 25-acre wildfires that sprouted in the Mat-Su Saturday and Sunday, stoked by gusty, dry conditions.

The Horseshoe Lake fire, burning in a forested area northeast of the lake and southwest of the Millers Reach Road subdivision in Houston, was first reported Sunday afternoon. It was headed toward containment Sunday evening, Mat-Su Borough officials said.

Bulldozers were expected to finish building a perimeter around the fire by nightfall, with some 20 firefighters from the Division of Forestry on scene, along with 10 borough firefighters. A helicopter with a drop bucket was also working the fire, which is in the area of the under-construction Port MacKenzie rail extension.

No structures were immediately threatened and no evacuations had been ordered as of Sunday evening, according to borough spokeswoman Patty Sullivan.

More crews and an additional helicopter were expected Monday morning.

Fire crews in the Mat-Su were stretched thin fighting both fires Sunday afternoon.

Many state firefighting crews are deployed on wildfires out of state, said Ken Barkley, deputy director of emergency services for the borough.

It's not known what caused the blazes.

Conditions are expected to remain dry and windy in the Mat-Su through at least the early part of the week, said Norm McDonald of the Alaska Division of Forestry.

People and especially hunters camping in remote areas should use extreme caution with fire, McDonald said.

A separate blaze at Mile 91 of the Parks Highway, known as the Sheep Creek fire, burned about 25 acres on Saturday but was out as of 6 p.m., Sullivan said.

Forestry firefighters remained at the scene of that fire to check for hot spots.

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