Alaska’s Card Street Fire More Than Triples Overnight, America’s Top Wildfire Priority [Photos]

Update: As of Thursday night in Alaska, the Card Street Fire has grown to 12,000 acres.

Original Story: Wildfire experts in Alaska expected the Card Street Fire to double in size, but Mother Nature was not helping to slow the inferno’s growth. Tuesday, the fire was at only 1,500 acres, and Wednesday’s footprint was not much greater. By Thursday, the Card Street Fire is estimated to have engulfed about 9,000 acres, according to KTUU News. As of Thursday afternoon, officials reported that besides for the 9,000 acres, there has been no containment of the fire.

In many areas, state officials have implemented a ban on all fires in state parks and on state land. Many campground areas are closed completely. The fire is sending plumes of smoke miles into the sky, fueled by strong westerly winds. According to the Alaska Coordination, the Card Street Fire is the number one priority wildfire in the nation Thursday, surpassing the critical concern of Alaska’s Sockeye Fire, which was deemed the most dangerous in the nation Wednesday and was reportedly set off by fireworks.

Unfortunately, Thursday’s weather will continue to foster fire growth with higher than normal temperatures, low humidity, and dry winds.

“The Alaska Division of Forestry, Central Emergency Services, Kenai Peninsula Borough, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Alaska State Troopers are coordinating the fire response to this incident,” according to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Wyoming Interagency Hotshots reported Wednesday that the team was on its way to assist in Alaska’s wildfires. A state of disaster has already been declared due to the destruction caused by the Card Street Fire, which is still burning fiercely.

Residents in the surrounding areas are reporting thick smoke through the region.

The only real good news at this time is that the Card Street Fire is heading into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The reason this is good news is that the area was already decimated last year during the Funny River Fire, which burned around 200,000 acres in the spring of 2014.

Besides the Card Street Fire, 55 other fires were actively burning around Alaska as of Thursday morning, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

[Photo via KNWR]