Firefighters defend resort from advancing wildfire

Flames were about 100 yards from the resort, where crews were spraying water on buildings.

By Mark Thiessen

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — A wildfire burned close to a vacation destination in interior Alaska on Tuesday, but fire officials believed Chena Hot Springs Resort would be spared.

“They’re pretty confident that they’re going to be able to defend the resort, based on the measures that we’ve set up and the personnel we have on scene,” said Tim Mowry, a spokesperson for the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Firefighters were working to protect the resort, homes and recreational cabins in the area about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

Flames were about 100 yards from the resort where crews were spraying water on buildings, the agency said in a statement. Firefighters also conducted a back burn near a trail that leads to two yurts for viewing the northern lights in hopes it would help stop the fire from advancing toward the main buildings.

Hoses and sprinklers also were set up at nearby homes and cabins.

No structures in the Chena Hot Springs area have burned, fire officials said. Light showers that fell overnight weren’t enough to put out the fire, but the increased humidity helps slow its growth.

The lightning-sparked wildfire was first reported June 18 about 5 miles south of the resort.

Since then, it has grown to just over 40 square miles.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough issued a voluntary evacuation order.