July 9

By Martin Slow

Favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to bolster protections for structures even as a wildfire burning in interior Alaska had grown on the opposite end, a fire official said Thursday.

Nearly 200 firefighters were battling the fire, parts of which had come within 100 yards (91.44 meters) of the Chena Hot Springs Resort about 60 miles (96.56 kilometers) northeast of Fairbanks.

Firefighters took advantage of continued cool and wet weather to complete protective measures at about 70 cabins on the south side of Chena Hot Springs Road, and had positioned themselves to be in place if the fire moves closer and poses a threat.

The fire, started by lightning on June 18, has grown to 57 sq. miles., an increase of 17 sq. miles (44 sq. kilometers) since the last estimate.

The increase is a combination of better mapping and growth on the fire’s southern end, which is away from the resort, said Tim Mowry, a spokesperson for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

A voluntary evacuation order earlier issued by the Fairbanks North Star Borough remained in place.

No resort buildings, nearby homes or recreational cabins have been lost to the fire.