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Wildfire forces Alaska village to evacuate

world Updated: May 28, 2010 13:43 IST

AP
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A fast-moving wildfire was threatening homes in eastern Alaska, forcing residents of a village and nearby subdivision to evacuate.

The Eagle Trail blaze had reached the village of Tanacross, but burned around it because firefighters "did such a great job," said Celeste Prescott with the Alaska Division of Forestry. Firefighters were working late Thursday on bulldozer lines to protect the Eagle Subdivision. There were no reports of injuries or structures burned.

As a precaution, authorities ordered the evacuation of some 50 homes in the village, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) southeast of Fairbanks, and about 60 homes in the subdivision after the fire was first reported Wednesday covering 5 acres (2 hectares). By Thurday afternoon it had burned 2,000 acres (809 hectares). About 150 firefighting personnel were working on the blaze, fire information officer Sarah Saarloos said. Forestry officials have called for all available state resources including air tankers, helicopters, bulldozers and more firefighters.

The fire took off in unusually hot and dry conditions in what is shaping up to be an early start to the Alaska wildfire season. Alaska drivers headed into Canada were being warned to expect delays, as the air was smoky along the Alaska Highway, which was also being used by emergency vehicles, Prescott said.