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bulldogmommy

Wildfires and Driving Impacts

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Hi All,

 

We are scheduled to be in Anchorage on Friday and head north towards Talkeetna and Denali on Saturday.  Any locals can tell us if we should be looking at alternate plans with the wildfire impacts?

 

Thanks

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The last update I saw said the change in weather has helped the fire crews make progress. I would expect some delays, but you should be able to through on the Parks Highway. I would top off your gas tank at the Three Bears at Pittman Road & Parks Highway, just north of Wasilla.

You can get the latest updates here: http://511.alaska.gov/

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Thank you so much, I'm so sorry for what is happening there.  I know the station you are referring to... stay safe...

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1 hour ago, bulldogmommy said:

Hi All,

 

We are scheduled to be in Anchorage on Friday and head north towards Talkeetna and Denali on Saturday. .....

 

Since you are headed to Denali just be aware that we are having serious rain in Interior Alaska.  The rains started in late July, and we here in the Interior really wish we could share some rain with those in Southcentral Alaska as we have more than enough.  

 

The rains have impacted the road into Denali National Park.  Late last week a rock/mud slide blocked several hundred folks (my memory is about 300) in the park for several hours.  Then last weekend the road was closed at mile 30 (Tetlanika rest stop) due to multiple mid/rock slides.  My understanding, from reporting in our local newspaper, is that the park road opened for the full length yesterday, but with more rain forecast in the Interior starting tomorrow who knows what will happened.  Be prepared to be flexible.

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1 minute ago, Northern Aurora said:

 

Since you are headed to Denali just be aware that we are having serious rain in Interior Alaska.  The rains started in late July, and we here in the Interior really wish we could share some rain with those in Southcentral Alaska as we have more than enough.  

 

The rains have impacted the road into Denali National Park.  Late last week a rock/mud slide blocked several hundred folks (my memory is about 300) in the park for several hours.  Then last weekend the road was closed at mile 30 (Tetlanika rest stop) due to multiple mid/rock slides.  My understanding, from reporting in our local newspaper, is that the park road opened for the full length yesterday, but with more rain forecast in the Interior starting tomorrow who knows what will happened.  Be prepared to be flexible.

Thanks! This I was aware of and have been following, we are scheduled for a bus trip on Tuesday the 27th...fingers crossed that one, we can travel to the towns we plan to visit and two, make to at least some distance in the park.

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My guess is that by Friday you should have no problem on the Parks Highway getting to Talkeetna. Although we certainly could use a little precipitation in southcentral Alaska right now. Been the hottest season ever as far as I can recall in Alaska and I was born and raised here.
 
We have a nice cabin on Crystal Lake which is about two miles west of Willow near Mile 70 of the Parks Highway. I'm not there right now but in the Wrangell Mountains where we have another place (also a tinder box) but my wife is at the lake. She says there is no problem except for power outages from time to time. I have tried to encourage her to go back to our home in Anchorage for a while but she says no way, the smoke in Anchorage is a lot worse than at the lake. Ha.
 
The ADNs is keeping a close watch on these events--for obvious reasons---here is the latest:  https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/mat-su/2019/08/20/as-crews-fight-destructive-susitna-valley-wildfire-evacuees-prepare-for-recovery/    

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3 minutes ago, kennicott said:
My guess is that by Friday you should have no problem on the Parks Highway getting to Talkeetna. Although we certainly could use a little precipitation in southcentral Alaska right now. Been the hottest season ever as far as I can recall in Alaska and I was born and raised here.
 
We have a nice cabin on Crystal Lake which is about two miles west of Willow near Mile 70 of the Parks Highway. I'm not there right now but in the Wrangell Mountains where we have another place (also a tinder box) but my wife is at the lake. She says there is no problem except for power outages from time to time. I have tried to encourage her to go back to our home in Anchorage for a while but she says no way, the smoke in Anchorage is a lot worse than at the lake. Ha.
 
The ADNs is keeping a close watch on these events--for obvious reasons---here is the latest:  https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/mat-su/2019/08/20/as-crews-fight-destructive-susitna-valley-wildfire-evacuees-prepare-for-recovery/    

This is very helpful, we love Alaska so much and are bringing our best friends to share the beauty of your state... fingers crossed for all the locals and hopefully a smooth 2 weeks of visiting.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AKStafford said:

The last update I saw said the change in weather has helped the fire crews make progress. I would expect some delays, but you should be able to through on the Parks Highway. I would top off your gas tank at the Three Bears at Pittman Road & Parks Highway, just north of Wasilla.

You can get the latest updates here: http://511.alaska.gov/

That's a great and useful link AKStafford. Thanks for sharing. There is also fuel at several Tesoro stations - mile 98 at the Talkeetna Spur Rd. and 115 near Trapper Creek. Most recent price was ~$2.89/gl diesel, and $2.89/gl regular.

Edited by masterdrago

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21 minutes ago, masterdrago said:

There is also fuel at several Tesoro stations - mile 98 at the Talkeetna Spur Rd. and 115 near Trapper Creek. Most recent price was ~$2.89/gl diesel, and $2.89/gl regular.

During the worse of the fires those stations ran out of fuel.... So I wouldn't count on them right now.

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It boggles my mind to think that I was driving in that area of the fires not too many days ago this month.

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1 hour ago, AKStafford said:

During the worse of the fires those stations ran out of fuel.... So I wouldn't count on them right now.

Yep. Could be a crap shoot getting gas on that highway. I always recommend using the app "Gas Buddy" when traveling.

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Smoke in Anchorage is pretty severe. But looks like traffic flowing better on the Park's north of Willow than it was the other day. North winds are not now, so the firefighters are beginning to put a dent in things. Cooler temperatures at night now is helping out, but still no rain in sight. And this is the rainy season.

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, kennicott said:

Smoke in Anchorage is pretty severe. But looks like traffic flowing better on the Park's north of Willow than it was the other day. North winds are not now, so the firefighters are beginning to put a dent in things. Cooler temperatures at night now is helping out, but still no rain in sight. And this is the rainy season.

 

 

 

Thanks for the Wednesday update... i'm hoping for improvements in 3 days! Having the local info is great! again many thanks

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As of 8:00 a.m. on 8/22/19, pilot cars are leading traffic between Mileposts 76 to 99; one way traffic.  Winds are expected to pick up over the weekend.  Who knows what will be happening by Saturday.  I certainly don't, and I live less than 35  miles away.  I would definitely have an alternate plan, and hope that you don't have to use it.  Since you aren't scheduled for your bus trip until Tuesday, you might consider driving the long way around:  Anchorage-Glennallen-Paxson-Fairbanks-Denali

And as far as the 511 app goes, I find updates on conditions few and far behind.  So don't assume what you see on it is accurate.   At least https://akfireinfo.com/ updates at least once/day and sometimes twice.  

I hope that your trip goes well and enough smoke clears for you to see the scenery.  I thought it was clearing last night but today our views are obscured again.

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mytime53,

 

Do you have any idea with what the cruise lines are doing with the transportation of their guests between Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage?  I would think that their plans must be severely disrupted.  Is the Alaska Railroad connection to Denali and Fairbanks affected as well?

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52 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

mytime53,

 

Do you have any idea with what the cruise lines are doing with the transportation of their guests between Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage?  I would think that their plans must be severely disrupted.  Is the Alaska Railroad connection to Denali and Fairbanks affected as well?

 

I am not "mytime53" but both the Anchorage Daily News and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner are reporting that Alaska Railroad freight service between  Anchorage and Fairbanks returned Tuesday evening, and that passenger service resumed Wednesday morning.

 

Our local NPR station is reading PSAs from the Alaska State Troopers about every hour.  The AST are asking folks to use the Richardson and Glenn Hwys.  when driving to Anchorage.

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3 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

mytime53,

 

Do you have any idea with what the cruise lines are doing with the transportation of their guests between Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage?  I would think that their plans must be severely disrupted.  Is the Alaska Railroad connection to Denali and Fairbanks affected as well?

 

3 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

mytime53,

 

Do you have any idea with what the cruise lines are doing with the transportation of their guests between Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage?  I would think that their plans must be severely disrupted.  Is the Alaska Railroad connection to Denali and Fairbanks affected as well?

I can tell you what Holland America did for us on Tuesday (Aug 20th). We were in Denali scheduled to take the train to Anchorage. With train service canceled they sent us on buses by way of Fairbanks and the Richardson Hwy, a journey of 13 plus hours and 550 miles. At least we were safe, but it was a long, long day.

 

The next morning we were talking to a couple who were on a Princess cruise and Princess sent them on a bus through the fire zone and they made it through with minimal delays.

 

So the only thing certain is conditions are ever changing and decisions have to be ma9de on an ongoing basis.

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2 hours ago, przyk said:

 

 

 

The next morning we were talking to a couple who were on a Princess cruise and Princess sent them on a bus through the fire zone and they made it through with minimal delays.

 

So the only thing certain is conditions are ever changing and decisions have to be made on an ongoing basis.

The Princess bus must have had perfect timing because typically the delays on Tuesday were hours long.  The railroad is transporting passengers as of yesterday and barring any major changes to the fire, will continue.  I do not know what the buses are doing at this point.  Since the wait to go through the fire zone has decreased, I assume they are running as scheduled.

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On 8/21/2019 at 2:46 AM, bulldogmommy said:

Thanks! This I was aware of and have been following, we are scheduled for a bus trip on Tuesday the 27th...fingers crossed that one, we can travel to the towns we plan to visit and two, make to at least some distance in the park.

 

We were on the 92 mile bus trip into the park a couple of days before the first road closure in early August..  It rained all day.  With any adventure you take your chances weather wise.  However, we were greatly disappointed in our experience.  Between the cold and rain, everyone kept their windows closed leading to fogged up windows that no one could see out of..  The driver did hand out paper towels that helped only momentarily.  Basically we were reduced to not seeing much of anything until the driver spotted something and everyone would then open their windows to see it... but since the windows don’t open fully, it was hard to get a glimpse of anything if you weren’t on the correct side.  I don’t know if something like Rain-X or a defogger would help but they should do something.

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I really appreciate the updates. We are scheduled to be in the area with a Princess land tour at the end of next week. 

 

Sherry

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We went from Anchorage to Denali Princess Lodge on Wed. 1/2 hr. delay on Parks Hwy. Many burned trees, some bldgs. & cars too. No smoke north of fire zone.

TWT 8 hr. tour into Nat. Park yesterday was great & good weather, minimal rain. We were lucky and saw lots of moose, caribou & 4 grizzlies. 2 caribou & 1 grizzly 20 yds. from bus. Camera with optical zoom helpful. Bus video great too.

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"Among those who had already left Cooper Landing by Tuesday: The hundreds of people from the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. The lodge had preemptively moved out visitors and staff Monday."
 

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