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FAIRBANKS - A backfiring snowmachine ignited a 261-acre wildfire next to the Parks Highway north of Healy.
Two Division of Forestry air tankers dropped retardant on the fire to keep it from spreading while more than 100 firefighters from Fairbanks responded. Several helicopters equipped with 320-gallon water buckets also helped slow the advance of the fire.
The Parks Highway was closed for about three hours because of poor visibility and firefighters on the road.
Alaska Division of Forestry investigator Mike Goyette says the snowmachine was sitting in tall, dry grass and backfired as the owner moved it into storage Wednesday night.