Anchorage 26.0 °F
Fairbanks -9.0 °F
Juneau 41.0 °F
Hundreds Evacuate, Structures Destroyed in Hooper Bay Fire
What started as a fire at a local school has spread through the small community of Hooper Bay, burning homes and even a grocery store along the way. It's also forced some 250 residents to leave their homes.
The community of Hooper Bay has filed a disaster declaration with the state due to all the damage caused by the fire still burning. Both the high school and elementary schools are a complete loss. Teacher housing and about 15 other structures, mostly homes in the area, received extensive damage or a complete loss.
The fire was in the developed part of Hooper Bay. At least one of the local stores is destroyed. Officials say the large grocery store in town has escaped damages.
The 250 people evacuated are staying with family and friends on the other side of town. The Red Cross is going out to Hooper Bay to help with long-term housing plans.
The state emergency command center says the fire is not contained or under control, but most of what can burn has.
“The fire has worked its way to the edge of the developed area,” said Tom Smayda, SECC manager. “So, it’s worked its way into a wetter … area, it's easier to control, which has caused the fire to settle down.”
Officials say the fire has burned into a marsh-area where they believe it won't cause any more extensive damage. Officials haven't estimated the cost of damages because the fire response is still in its initial stage.
“The main concern is for the people is their long term safety and welfare of the evacuees,” Smayda said. “Right now they’re staying with friends and family in Hooper Bay. That's probably the best-case scenario.”
The Red Cross of Alaska is looking for the public's help.
To help fire victims:
By mail: American Red Cross of Alaska
235 E. 8th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501
The Red Cross knows there will be a need for shelter, food and clothing for the hundreds that have been displaced.