Denali Borough issues disaster declaration for Clear Fire damage

flames and smoke above trees
The Clear Fire burns in the Kobe Ag subdivision on July 6, 2022. (Eric Kiehn/Task Force Leader with Northwest Team)

The Denali Borough has issued a disaster declaration for damage from the Clear Fire.

It says the 72,000-acre wildfire burned into two subdivisions — destroying one permanent residence, eight properties with cabins, 10 with other structures, as well as machinery equipment, trailers and building supplies.

Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker said he issued the disaster declaration to help impacted property owners, “by hopefully opening up the state’s individual assistance program.”

The Denali Borough’s request for individual assistance for Clear Fire victims is being evaluated by the state. Walker said the local disaster declaration meanwhile allows access to the borough’s disaster contingency fund.

“For a sum of up to $20,000 to be used to aid recovery efforts, focused on debris removal,” he said.

Walker said the first step is hauling dumpsters to the areas where properties burned. The Clear Fire was started by lighting on June 21, and has not grown significantly in the last two weeks due to cooler rainier weather. The 400 firefighters working the incident are now primarily focused on restoration of dozer lines and other suppression operation impacts, as well as backhauling gear from the field.

RELATED: Alaska is experiencing wildfires like it’s never seen before

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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