Alaska Wildfire: 6,500-Acre Wildfire Destroys 45 Homes, Blocks Highway Traffic

An Alaska wildfire believed to be caused by human-induced causes has grown in size overnight and has swept across 6,500 acres of woods, Newsweek reports. The fire was initially reported at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday near the town of Willow, located about 40 miles north of Anchorage. At that time, it spanned only two acres in size. However, by 10:30 p.m, it had snowballed to an inferno raging across 4,000 acres of forest. Two hours later, forest officials put the estimated span of the Alaska wildfire to 6,500 acres, a Yahoo News report confirmed.

Meanwhile, an ABC News report confirmed that several teams of emergency crews are working round the clock in a herculean effort to stop the wildfire from spreading further. A total of 200 firemen are reportedly battling it out to fight the Alaska wildfire. Officials have also asked for help from the lower 48 states in order to curb the wildfire that seems to show no signs of stopping. The fire has reportedly destroyed 45 homes and has been responsible for a major traffic block on the Parks Highway, which has been temporarily closed by authorities. By Monday morning, several portions of the highway was opened for single- lane traffic. A temporary flight restriction, too, has been enforced over the area affected by the wildfire.

The Alaska wildfire has also led to the voluntary evacuation of 1,700 homes from the area. Luckily, no casualties have been reported. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. He is, however, expected to make a quick recovery.

According to Tim Mowry, a fire information spokesman, over 210 residents have been provided relief at evacuations centers set up following the spread of the wildfire.

Several residents who are not in the path of the fire have opened up their homes and properties to help people and animals in need. Kendra Zamzow, a woman from Chickaloon, has opened up her two-acre property for people and animals. “I have plenty of room,” she told ABC News.

Meanwhile, three Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopters are also being used to extinguish the flames, along with several other aircraft, which have been called in from other states.

While authorities are certain that this wildfire was caused by humans, they do not have any leads as to who could be behind it. The spread of the Alaska wildfire was aggravated due to the dry weather conditions prevailing in the area.

Incidentally, Alaska has witnessed another wildfire of this nature at around the same time last year according to an Inquisitr report.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]