Air tankers called out again for McGrath fire

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Air tankers continued Saturday to dump retardant on an 80,000-acre fire near McGrath that has required some residents of the Interior town to be evacuated.

Fifty-one thousand gallons of retardant, or 17 loads, were dumped on the fire Friday. The air tankers were called out again mid-afternoon on Saturday, said Maria Wade, a logistics coordinator for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

The wildfire was burning southeast of the town when strong winds began blowing it north on Thursday afternoon. It burned to within six miles of the town after firefighters were called back to establish defensible space.

"I know they've had increased activity today," Wade said Saturday.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team - teams that manage large fires - was briefed on the McGrath fire late Saturday morning.

Firefighters battling two other large fires were benefitting from scattered thunderstorms and slackening winds, a fire official said.

"The weather has moderated," said Andy Williams of the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

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