We've been monitoring a forest fire that started on Thursday, via lightning strike, about 8 miles NE of us. Since Thursday, the fire has spread rapidly to the north and west, and has just jumped south over the Elliott Hwy about 5 miles east of our location. AK Fire Service is monitoring, but not really doing much about it except saving structures in the path. Locals are out with all available equipment cutting fire breaks to try and keep it from spreading any further west into the Eureka residential area. We currently have ash fall and moderate laying smoke, but no flames visible as of yet.
We, and our surrounding neighbors, are preparing for rendezvous and evacuation west into Manley if necessary. We are securing our tent site as best as possible, moving everything of value into the center of the clearing and hoping that will provide a sufficient firebreak should the fire come through this area. Unfortunately, half of our new cabin lumber is at the tent site, a quarter is about 1/4 mile up the trail (where the trail finally gave out to mud and tried to swallow the truck), and the rest is still on the side of the highway. If the fire does come through, we will likely lose most/all of our building materials :(
The Elliott Hwy east of us (towards Fairbanks) is closed with this (Applegate Creek) fire and the Cascaden fire (Livengood) at the junction of Elliott and Parks Hwys, so evacuation can only be made west into Manley. If Manley (20 miles away) must also be evacuated, it will likely be by air and river; although that is not likely since they have a full volunteer fire department on call with pumper trucks and high pressure hoses. Most of us Eurekans will likely be staying at the roadhouse or the campground across the street should evacuation be necessary.
We'll try to keep updating the blog as the evening progresses, etc. Wish us luck!