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Evacuations have been called for around the town of Willow 80 miles north of Anchorage as a fast moving fire grew to 6,500 acres in just hours.  According to information on the Alaska Wildland Fire Website, the fire grew from 1,100 acres to 6,500 acres with expanding evacuations called for in a matter of hours.

Picture of the Sockeye Fire from Alaska State Troopers Facebook
Picture of Sockeye Fire from the Alaska State Troopers Facebook Account

 According to information on the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center site the cost of this fire is estimated to be $421,632.00 a day with 111 people already committed to fighting this fire.  According to their June 14th report, "Evacuation notices were completed from milepost 63 to milepost 78 of the Parks Highway and the highway was closed for most of the day due to the amount of fire apparatus in the area as well as the overall fire behavior. There were 25 primary structures lost as well as 10-20 secondary structures lost North of Kashwitna Lake. Five hotshot crews have been ordered from the Lower 48 and a Type 2 Team has also been ordered. The current size of the fire is approximately 6500 acres."

According to a report from Channel 2 KTUU in Anchorage the smoke is visible in Anchorage.  There are also periodic closures along the Parks Highway with pilot cars guiding local traffic through when allowable.

Updated-evacuation-map-narrow-jpgThe evacuation area is moving south with the fire.  Though Willow is somewhat of a remote area, many residents called "mushers" own sled dogs that are used for transportation in the winter and in sled dog racing competitions.   Willow is home to "mushers"  who compete in the famous Iditarod Race.

One of the project ideas on the Firewise Website is to make evacuation kits for your pets before a wildfire event. The kit should include:

1. Dog bowls (one for water and food)

2. A warm blanket

3. Dog food that your pet is currently eating (having something different or new to your pet could result in an upset stomach)

4. Copies of vet and vaccination records

5. Leash and harness

6. A special toy

7. A small amount of the current medication your pet is on.

Our thoughts are with the people in the Willow, Alaska area.  There is a lot we can do to prepare in the advance of wildfire to protect our properties, those we care about and our pets using Firewise Principals.

Willow AK
Picture from Willow Dog Musher's Association Facebook Page

On June 16th from 1 to 2 pm Eastern Standard Time, the Southern Fire Exchange will be hosting a free webinar about LANDFIRE biophysical setting (BpS) review for land managers.  The Lakes States Fire Consortium and ecologist Randy Swaty of the Nature Conservancy's LANDFIRE team for this webinar about models and descriptions influencing LANDFIRE spatial datasets, the BpS review and update process (with maps and models from the Lake States region), and how other regions can contribute to the update.


There is no registration require to participate in this important project but you will need to login as a guest. Because input from expert land managers and their review of maps and models is critical to the upgrade process, they are setting up a BpS review website which should go live next month.  For more information about LANDFIRE and setting up free webinars in your region contact the Southern Fire Exchange at

June's reputation as a month for weddings and honeymoons is changing, at least in Colorado, where it is now a reminder of fires, floods and other less benign events. The Colorado Springs Gazette has initiated a special assignment for the month of June on "Fires, Floods and the Future."

Reporter Ryan Maye Handy covers natural disaster and water issues for the paper, and is leading this special assignment. Learn more about the goals and scope of this coverage in this short video. GazetteVideo

Some key articles in this coverage so far include:

"Frequency of natural disasters in Pikes Peak Region means new normal for communities"

"Insurance deadline looms for victims of 2013 Black Forest fire"

"Waldo Canyon, Black Forest fire victims see dissimilar outcomes"

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