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Stuart Creek 2 Fire Grows Along With Firefighting Effort

Sonny Lindner

Fairbanks, AK - The Stuart Creek 2 Fire, burning on military land east of Eielson Air Force Base has grown to 50 thousand acres since yesterday.  Mel Slater is a Public Affairs Officer with the BLM Alaska Fire Service.  He says the blaze is growing at a rate slower than the Fire Service anticipated.  “Right now we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 195 personnel," says Slater.  "That includes smoke jumpers, various aircraft, fire engines and ground crews, so we’ve got a  lot of resources paying attention to this fire right now.”

Fire officials say the blaze is moving north toward Chena Hot Springs Road.  It’s burning within seven miles of the Two Rivers.  Slater says residents who decided to move livestock and sled dogs out of the Two Rivers area were right to do so.  “The fire is headed in the direction of Two Rivers," says Slater, "but it is not there at this time.  The North Star Borough had issued an evacuation watch, so folks that are moving their pets and other things now are just being proactive and that’s a good thing.”

The Borough’s Evacuation Watch is still in place for Chena Hot Springs Road between Mileposts 14 and 32.  Slater says the Fire Service is working to protect structures and equipment on military lands where the fire is burning.

The Army has closed all recreation at the Yukon Training Area.

The State has also closed recreation areas along Chena Hot Springs Road including the popular Granite Tors, Mist, and Compeau trails as well as the Colorado and Stiles Creek Trailhead.  Three state recreation cabins and the Rosehip campground are also closed until further notice.

According to a press release from the State Tuesday, if Chena Hot Springs Road is closed, it will happen quickly.  Access beyond Nordale Road will be prohibited.  There is no word of road closure Wednesday morning.