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Wildfire damages Eielson power, data lines

Jul. 28, 2013 - 11:14AM   |  
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FAIRBANKS, ALASKA — A wildfire near Fairbanks earlier this summer damaged power lines and fiber optic cables on Eielson Air Force Base training grounds, but it won’t affect the upcoming Red Flag-Alaska training

The Stuart Creek 2 wildfire took out more than 7 miles of power line and 2 miles of cable, but no military buildings were lost, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

It hasn’t yet been determined if the military will replace the power and data lines, Air Force spokesman Lt. Elias Zani said.

Other military areas are being used for training, and Zani said the damage won’t interrupt the Red Flag training exercise planned from Aug. 8-23.

“It is expected that all training objectives will be met,” Zani said.

The 133-square-mile wildfire started June 19 at the military’s Yukon Training Area, about 25 miles east of North Pole.

Col. Ron Johnson, garrison commander at Fort Wainwright, has said the fire was caused by artillery training. But since making that comment, the military has stepped back, saying it’s too early to determine the cause of the fire.

The wildfire spread beyond military lands, eventually destroying three cabins and two outbuildings.

The fire continues to burn, but its severity has been downgraded. The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on Friday lifted access restrictions in the Chena River State Recreation Area, except for backcountry areas still close to the fire.

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