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Alaska firefighters watch for wildfire flareups as dry, windy conditions persist

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Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 6:19 am | Updated: 12:07 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

PALMER, Alaska - Firefighters in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough remained on guard Friday after a wind-fueled wildfire that threatened homes north of Palmer flared up overnight.

"Everyone is on watch. The wind isn't letting up," borough spokeswoman Patty Sullivan told The Associated Press on Friday morning.

Firefighters will be on the lookout for any new fires, she said.

On Thursday, a 150-acre wildfire threatened a residential area north of Palmer. No homes were lost but two buildings and two vehicles burned, Sullivan said.

She said 11 fires were reported Thursday, fed by wind gusts estimated by firefighters at 80 mph.

The wildfire was rare for this time of year. It began when a vehicle towing a trailer flipped on the Palmer-Fishhook Road near the Glenn Highway just before 2 p.m. Thursday, Alaska State Trooper said.

The fire got going because there is no snow cover on what is very dry ground near homes that sit next to a treeless golf course, leaving the area wide open for the strong and blustery winds.

The city of Palmer said on its Facebook page that the fire was controlled about 10 p.m. Thursday and residents who had been evacuated were allowed to return home.

Sullivan said the fire threatened three homes in the Cedar Hills subdivision and another eight in Wickersham Circle. Three firefighters received minor injuries.

Resident Marshall Carter told The Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/LpvouZ ) that he had to flee his house when firefighters came through the neighborhood telling everyone to leave.

"We started grabbing our animals. We have four dogs, a bird and a cat. We had to wrangle all of them up," he said. "We had firefighters banging on both of our doors telling us to get out. And we rushed to grab passports, birth certificates, a set of warm clothes, to get out quick."

Carter said the fire came close to homes but none caught on fire .

A shed burned and some propane tanks exploded, he said.

"That was a little exciting," Carter said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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