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Stuart Creek fire at 50,000 acres

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 2:15 pm | Updated: 4:37 pm, Tue Jul 23, 2013.

FAIRBANKS—The Stuart Creek fire south of Two Rivers has grown to 50,000 acres, with most of the growth occurring to the south and east — away from populated areas.

An evacuation watch remains in effect, however, for the area of mile 14 to mile 32 of Chena Hot Springs Road.

Cooler temperatures, higher humidity and lighter winds were expected to aid firefighters Wednesday, according to the daily update from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

“Smokejumpers, retardant tankers and military helicopters continue to attack the fire,” the update reads. “In addition, crews have begun positioning pumps and hoses to protect structures ahead of the fire.”

The fire began on military land and has spread to state land, prompting the closure of several access points in the Chena River State Recreation Area.

Also Wednesday, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Division of Animal Control has set up an emergency animal shelter at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds. The shelter will accept animals from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the evacuation watch. People can bring livestock, dogs and cats.

The emergency shelter can be reached through the back gate, by the livestock barns. People should be prepared to help care for their animals while at the shelter, according to a notice a borough notice.

People who are available to help move animals or volunteer at the emergency shelter are asked to email their contact information and the service they can provide to provide to helprescue@fnsb.us.

An evacuation watch is not an evacuation order. An evacuation watch is an advisory given to warn people of the possibility of an evacuation order.

Elsewhere, crews continue making progress on the Skinny’s Road fire, aided by cooler temperatures and some rainfall. Crews continue enlarging the fire line and extinguishing hot spots within the fire’s perimeter, according to a news release Wednesday from the Incident Management Team from the Oregon Department of Forestry that has been brought up to handle the fire.

Motorists in the area will still encounter roadblocks and pilot cars on the Parks Highway near mile 328.

The fire is 55 percent contained. The fire’s size is now listed at 1,806 acres, a change due to improved mapping.

More than 470 firefighters are working on the fire, supported by several fire engines and bulldozers, helicopters, and water tenders, according to the news release.

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