Unextinguished campfire cause of McHugh Fire

The Department of Natural Resources have determined that an unextinguished campfire was the cause of the McHugh fire that has been raging in Chugach State Park near South Anchorage since July 16th. According to a release sent out this afternoon, the fire began in an area not commonly used by hikers and not in an established campfire ring.

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A helicopter dumps water from a "Bambi Bucket" to fight the McHugh fire. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
A helicopter dumps water from a “Bambi Bucket” to fight the McHugh fire on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

The fire was most recently sized at 778 acres, down from a peak of 842 acres last week. The fire has been worked on over the last two weeks by not only firefighters from Alaska, but also by many flown up from the lower 48.

The DNR announced in a release on Monday that the fire was contained, 35% of the containment from the fire department.

These escaped campfires are preventable according to the Department of Natural Resources. They recommend that before leaving a campfire unattended, ensure it is fully extinguished by dousing with water, stirring and dousing again until no heat is present.

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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