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Old and new fires rage in Alaska

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June 8, 1996
Web posted at: 8:45 p.m. EDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- As firefighters drew closer to containing a six-day-old wildfire north of Anchorage, a new fire south of the city was gaining strength.

Weekend rains were helping firefighters contain the Big Lake wildfire about 50 miles north of Anchorage.

The fire has caused several million dollars worth of damage, having destroyed nearly 300 buildings and consumed 35,000 acres.


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According to Katie Markin of the State Division of Forestry, the fire was roughly 35 percent contained. About 1,500 firefighters are battling the blaze. If conditions don't change dramatically, authorities expect the fire to be fully contained by Monday evening.

Firefighters were concerned about another active fire near Tustumena Lake on the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska because it had consumed 20,500 acres since early Friday and was threatening a main power line that links the area to the rest of the peninsula.

The "Crooked Creek" blaze is about 1/8 of a mile from the power line, Markin said, and firefighters were concentrating their efforts there.


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The governor is considering declaring the timber region about 85 miles southwest of Anchorage a disaster area. No structures are now threatened. Residents have been urged to keep up with local reports and to use a hotline set up for updates.

More than 200 firefighters, including crews brought in from other states, were fighting the Crooked Creek blaze.



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