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Wildfire Brings Parks Highway Traffic to a Standstill

Fairbanks, AK - More than 500 acres of land are on fire roughly 20 miles west of Fairbanks along the George Parks Highway.  The Skinny’s Road Fire, as it’s known, jumped a containment line overnight Wednesday and prompted an overnight closure of the Parks Highway between mileposts 317 and 344.

It’s a drive local resident Pat Levy makes several times a week.  He’s a Radar Technician at Clear Air Force Station between Nenana and Fairbanks. “I would say there’s probably 30 to 35 cars or something like that behind me,”  says Levy.

Levy was stuck in traffic for more than an hour and a half Thursday afternoon.  He was waiting for a state Department of Transportation pilot vehicle to lead him and other motorists through thick smoke. “It looked like smog," he recalled.  "It was light brown, but thick.  You couldn’t really see too far.”

Levy says he saw flames roughly a mile from the well-known Skinny Dick’s Saloon.  He says firefighters are working along the roadway as well. “At one point there I could see an airplane diving over the ridge too.  It was possibly a retardant plane going to dump something on the fire there.”

The Alaska Fire Service is using fire retardant and water scooping aircraft to combat the blaze.  Five crews are on the ground.