Officials give positive prognosis to wildfire near Anchorage

ANCHORAGE — Though the wildfire near Alaska’s largest city was only 15 percent contained as of Saturday, fire officials have given a positive prognosis to the blaze.

Incident commander Tom Kurth on Saturday said favorable weather this week should not promote growth of the fire near Anchorage and parts of the fire could be considered confined, or unable to progress, KTVA-TV reported. Rain over the weekend and cooler temperatures have aided firefighting efforts and after the rain stops fire-spreading weather such as high temperatures, low humidity and winds are not expected.

“Our prognosis is going to be very positive, and the perimeter that you see there has very little chance of moving,” Kurth said. “We’ll begin to see what we can do about actual containment there, but I think the residents of Alaska, of Anchorage here, can rest easy about the further spread of this fire.”

The fire was sparked July 16 near cliffs overlooking the Seward Highway, the only road leading south of town, and has since burned about 1 ½ square miles. There has been no growth in the fire since Wednesday.

Kurth says the biggest safety concern in connection to the fire is traffic along the Seward Highway. The speed limit has been lowered near the fire and turnouts are closed.

Officials have said the fire was likely human-caused, noting the area is heavily used for recreation, but the cause is still under investigation. The fire has been burning in an area that includes a steep hiking trail in Chugach State Park.

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