An Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, drops approximately 700 gallons of water from a "Bambi Bucket" on to the Stetson Creek Fire near Cooper Landing Wednesday. Two National Guard Black Hawk helicopters flew a total of 200 bucket missions, dumping more than 144,000 gallons of water on the 300-acre Stetson Creek fire. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Balinda O'Neal)

Cooper Landing fires slow

Two fires in the Cooper Landing showed minimal growth from Wednesday through Thursday, and additional crews have arrived to increase support.

In a press release, Mona Spargo, USDA Forest Service public information officer for Chugach National Forest, said the Stetson Creek fire, located south of the Sterling Highway between Russian River and Cooper Creek, has grown to 400 acres. The Juneau Lake fire, located east of Juneau Lake and north of Cooper Landing, is a little more than 100 acres. Three tankers are being put to work on the fire.

“The relative humidity has increased, so it’s made it moister so it doesn’t burn so hot,” Spargo said.

Spargo said the humidity has also increased the amount of smoke in the area, which in turn made a flyover of both fires less successful. Both fires are continuing to burn, she said, because the moss that would typically resist them is so dry that it is supporting the burn.

The fires are sending out “fingers” to the east and north, Spargo said, and making uphill runs into surrounding conifers.

According to the release, an incident management team has arrived from Oregon. Two additional teams arrived from out of state as well. Oversight of the firefighting will be passed from the current incident commanders to the Oregon team on Friday.

“Our main focus for (Thursday was) getting our crews in place,” Spargo said.

A pair of Alaska Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters dropped water on the Stetson Creek fire on Wednesday and Thursday, the Guard reported. The Black Hawks made 200 drops, totaling 144,000 gallons of water on Wednesday.

According to the release, Cooper Creek Campground, Bean Creek and Stetson Creek Trail are closed. Resurrection Pass South Trail is closed to Devil’s Creek junction. However, cabin rentals are still available along Resurrection Pass North Trail. No cabins are in the path of the Stetson Creek fire, and cabin protections are in place for structures near the Juneau Lake fire.

Spargo said she has had no reports of injuries.


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