The Willow Fire has the official name of Sockeye Fire. The fire is more than 500 acres, possibly up to 1,000 acres, Forestry reports. Smoke is obscuring the estimate.
Voluntary evacuation is requested for Willow residents from mile 77 of the Parks Highway to the community of Willow on both sides of the highway, reports Mat-Su Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook.
1 structure has been reported lost, possibly up to five structures could be lost according to Mat-Su Borough Emergency Services Director Bill Gamble.
Red Flag conditions and wind are an obstacle to fire suppression. An emergency number for information is 861-8500. Watch Borough website, facebook, and DNR facebook and website for updates.
Heavy use of fire protection apparatus is underway.
• Forestry and the Mat-Su Borough are operating under a unified command
• All Borough firefighters were paged to the scene
• The National Guard is assisting with three blackhawks.
• Four Alaska crews are routed to scene.
• 5 helicopters
• A Type II emergency response team is being assembled.
• 5 Hot Shot crews from the Lower 48 have been ordered.
• Anchorage is sending two engines, Chugiak Fire is assisting
Red Cross is operating the evacuation center at the Willow Community Center.
Willow is a dog mushing community. Animal Care has a trailer with dog kennels stationed at the Willow Community Center.
Residents have been cooperating with authorities. Earlier Troopers reported evacuation notices had been delivered to residences from mile 72 to 77 mile of the Parks Highway. Unknown how many homes this affects. The first evacuation notice was for about 10 homes on Sockeye Ave. However, the fire has grown due to winds and heat and the area was expanded south to the subdivisions off of Sharen Drive and North Dell M Road.
The road is closed from Willow Fishhook north to Sockeye Avenue. There are troopers set up at road stations at these two points.
The Parks Highway has low visibility near the fire and traffic is backed up. Only emergency personnel are being let through. Please do not drive on the Parks Highway near Willow.