A wildfire burning near the trans-Alaska pipeline grew by about 3,200 acres overnight Sunday.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, 495 people are working to contain the Aggie Creek Fire, which has reached 31,755 acres in size according to a Monday update on the expanding blaze.
Crews had completed two and a half miles of burnout operations along the pipeline Sunday, in the vicinity of Pump Station 7, but reported no new burnouts Monday. Officials reported the fire to be 37 percent contained Monday.
The lightning-caused fire has so far cost at least $7.8 million to fight.
In addition to the Aggie Creek Fire, there are 304 active fires burning across the state which have scorched nearly 4.5 million acres. So far this year there have been 671 wildfires in Alaska, including about 300 human-caused fires.
In related news:
Two Anchorage residents have been charged with a variety of crimes in connection with the ignition of last month’s devastating Sockeye Fire near Willow, which destroyed dozens of homes and took weeks to contain.
A Monday statement from the Alaska Division of Forestry says 59-year-old Greg Imig and 42-year-old Amy Dewitt were charged after an investigation of the 7,220-acre fire which started on June 14.
“State forestry fire investigators determined the cause of the fire to be an illegal, escaped debris burn pile located in forested lands at a recreational cabin owned by Imig,” Forestry officials wrote. “Both Imig and Dewitt are facing a variety of charges that include three counts of reckless endangerment, criminally negligent burning, failure to obtain a burn permit, burning without clearing an area, allowing the spread of fire and leaving a fire unattended.”