In this June 17, 2015 photo from the Alaska Army National Guard, trees erupt in flames in the Stetson Creek Fire near Cooper Landing, Alaska. Crews have wrangled two large wildfires north and south of Anchorage as dozens of blazes burn over 100 square miles in Alaska. One fire forced the evacuation of campsites on the Kenai Peninsula and destroyed at least eight structures since Monday. (Sgt. Balinda O'Neal/U.S. Army National Guard via AP)

Containment on Cooper Landing fires improves

Containment continues to improve on the Stetson Creek and Juneau Lake fires.

Public Information Officer Jean Goad, with the incident command team, said the Stetson Lake fire is now 70 percent contained, and the Juneau Lake fire is 55 percent contained. She said cooler weather conditions do play a role in progress on the fires.

“The weather does help when it’s a little more humid and it’s not likely to burn,” Goad said. “And we’re expecting more of the same over the next couple of days.”

There are 111 total personnel working on the Cooper Landing area fires, and Goad said the command team will reevaluate their needs daily.

According to a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture, some cabin and campground closures caused by the Cooper Landing fires will be lifted soon.

Cooper Creek South campground near the Stetson Creek fire will reopen on Saturday, the release states. The Romig, Trout Lake and Swan recreational cabins near the Juneau Lake fire will also open on Saturday.

The Juneau Lake cabin remains closed, according to the release.

An earlier release from the USDA states the Stetson Creek fire is considered what firefighters call a “dirty burn,” meaning the fuel and organic matter has burned partially and unevenly. This created the potential for interior areas of the fire to reignite.

The incident command team in charge of the Card Street fire initiated a controlled burn on Wednesday of a 2,000-acre are that had burned unevenly, so as to eliminate the chance it could reignite. Public Information Officer Meg Cicciarella said that method has not yet been discussed in relation to the Cooper Landing fires.

According to the release, there is high, active fire on the southeast corner of the Juneau Lake fire, but it is expected to run into a snow bank and burn out. Cicciarella said natural barriers found in areas with more elevation essentially create part of the containment lines for the firefighters.

“When you have fire that runs into natural barriers like rocks or like snow, certainly you’re not going to forget about that, but you can move on to other things,” she said. “It’s certainly helpful to the containment efforts when you have natural areas that you’re dealing with instead of areas where you have to be cutting the line.”

Goad said no additional information is available about the firefighter who was injured by a bear Monday.

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