ANCHORAGE - A fire near Homer passed the 4,000-acre mark Monday, but fire managers finally got the use of a retardant-dropping aircraft tanker that had been tending to three new blazes in the Interior.
The airborne tanker had dropped three loads of the chemical retardant by late Monday afternoon, including along the Anchor River, about two miles east of the northwestern edge of the fire, said Kris Eriksen, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Forestry.
A small cabin was burned Sunday afternoon, but no one was hurt, Eriksen said.
The blaze was sending up plumes of smoke Monday that were visible from the community of Nikolaevsk several miles west of the river, but there was no immediate threat to residents, according to Eriksen.
"It's very deceptive when you're looking at a column," she said. "It looks closer than it is."
Eriksen said the fire was far less active along its southern edge. That's where the fire originated last week, sparked by a downed power line a couple miles from a residential subdivision northeast of Homer.
A grass fire was reported Monday about about two miles west of Homer. Crews quickly attacked it, Eriksen said.
In Interior Alaska, calmer winds and clouding skies were a welcome boost for crews stationed at several smaller fires, including two fires near Delta Junction 100 miles south of Fairbanks and another near Nenana. Dry tall grasses provided much of the fuel in those fires, said Marsha Henderson, a state forestry division spokeswoman.
"It's such a flashy fuel," she said. "Just a little bit of wind makes a big difference."
One of two air tankers chartered from Canada arrived over the weekend - and it was immediately pressed into service.
The plane was heading to Homer Sunday when it was diverted to the Interior fires.
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