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Hundreds of people, sled dogs evacuated to escape Alaska wildfire

Published on Jul 9, 2013 1:10 AM

ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - About 600 people and numerous sled dogs were evacuated as a massive wildfire threatened homes in communities north-east of Fairbanks, Alaska, state and federal fire management officials said on Monday.

The Stuart Creek 2 fire, whipped up by strong winds, expanded about 25 per cent over the weekend to more than 259 sq km as of Monday morning, according to InciWeb, the interagency fire information website run by the United States Forest Service.

The flames, which were spreading to the north and north-west, threatened about 750 homes and about 150 other structures, and officials issued an evacuation order affecting about 600 residents on Sunday afternoon. Some of the homes are not occupied year-round.

As of Sunday evening, 200 to 300 people had informed the authorities that they had left the area, fire information officer Rich Phelps said. But he said it was difficult to determine how many people had evacuated.

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