May 22

By Annie Berman

Multiple agencies responded to a wildfire in the area of All Elks Road just outside Sutton that had spread to at least 5 acres but was brought under control by early Saturday evening.

In a social media post, Palmer Fire and Rescue encouraged residents to avoid the area as authorities worked to contain what they described as a “large, rapidly spreading” fire.

Teams first responded to the fire on private land, and had already been able to pick up small spot fires that had been slowed by the initial attack helicopters, according to Kale Casey, a spokesman with the Alaska Division of Forestry.

By Saturday evening, the fire’s forward spread appeared to have stopped, with no open flames, Casey said.

The fire, which was human caused, was under control by 6:30 p.m. Saturday and no building structures were threatened, he said.

A large portion of Southcentral Alaska — including Anchorage and part of the Mat-Su — remained under a “red flag warning” through Sunday night, reflecting hot and windy weather that could fuel the rapid ignition and spread of fires. The red flag warning extended through the Copper River Basin and north of the eastern Alaska Range.

A burn ban is in place in Anchorage, and a burn suspension went into effect Saturday in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough due to warm, dry conditions.

The Alaska Division of Forestry announced the suspension Friday. It prohibits all burn barrels, debris piles or lawn burning, the agency said.

“Due to the warm temperatures and quite dry conditions, much of the area has become highly susceptible to debris burns escaping and spreading from their intended area,” the agency warned.

Early Saturday morning, a separate fire ignited in an 80-year-old barn at a farm along the Glenn Highway south of Palmer, according to Palmer Fire and Rescue.

Before it was contained, that fire spread to a different log barn, a shed, several vehicles and snowmachines, and surrounding vegetation, the agency said on Facebook.

No injuries were reported, and that fire — which was reported around 2:45 a.m. — was under control in about an hour, the agency said. The cause is under investigation.