Murphy Dome Diaries

A journalist observes life in the far north.

Fire watch

Cameron Winfrey of the Alaska Division of Forestry

Seen here: Cameron Winfrey of the Alaska Division of Forestry

This is about as close as I could get to the forest fire burning 1,000 acres a few miles from my house before someone from the fire service chased me away, saying something about 60-foot tall flames and what I am thinking driving toward an inferno with a baby asleep in the back seat?

I got this picture and a few others. I had hoped to reach some of the cabins where surely owners are frantically working to save them. I imagined doing some interviews, but it’s probably just as well. It’s a lot to ask someone to pause from trying to save their property so that I can ask a few questions.

Strangely, most of my neighbors seem to be going about their business as normal despite the threat posed by the fire. Maybe they subscribe to Alec’s thinking, which is that there’s a valuable Air Force radar site between us and the fire and the federal government is probably going to protect the heck out of that site.

I am told an army of firefighters is on its way. The skies were pretty empty earlier today, but I began hearing aircraft this afternoon so there must be an air attack underway.

It’s hazy outside but the smoke’s not so bad you can taste it, which has been the case on occasion due to smoke from another fire burning about 60 miles away.

This fire is reaching two square miles, which is nothing when you consider Alaska is a half a million square miles.

In the spring, they were calling for a mild fire season but that’s been re-assessed, particularly after July was one of the driest on record in the Interior.

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One comment on “Fire watch

  1. Angela Haynie
    August 7, 2009

    I found your article while I was searching for information on the Murphy Dome fire. My husband was dispatched from Colorado to fight this fire on a hand crew. I haven’t heard from him in 3 days. I don’t know anything about his situation. Reading your article helps me feel closer to him (if that makes any sense). Thanks.

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This entry was posted on August 4, 2009 by .
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