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Smoke Jumpers Fight Mountain Village Wildfire

By Chris Klint, Senior Digital Producer, cklint@ktuu.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 05:04:51 AM AKDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2014 11:26:26 PM AKDT
Smoke Jumpers Fight Mountain Village Wildfire

Courtesy Michael Sturkey

ANCHORAGE -

A crew of smoke jumpers are fighting a wildfire outside a Western Alaska village Monday night after the fire reportedly burned beyond the local dump.

Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Sam Harrel says eight smoke jumpers are fighting the fire near the Mountain Village dump. An online map from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center lists the fire as starting at about 7 p.m., with an initial estimate of 15 acres.

“The fire escaped that dump, and it’s in a (full) protection area and we don’t let those burn,” Harrel said. “If it hadn’t escaped the dump, we wouldn’t have fought it.”

While Harrel says no exact cause for the fire has yet been determined, crews suspect it wasn’t naturally started.

“It’s a fire in a dump -- that’s got human-caused written all over it,” Harrel said. “Right now, we’re proceeding under the assumption that it came out of the dump.”

Michael Sturkey, a store manager in Mountain Village, says he brought the smoke jumpers bottled water as they fought the fire. He told Channel 2 Monday night that the fire had seemingly burned half of the mountain near the village.

Channel 2’s Sarah Evans contributed information to this story.