Army Active as Forest Fires Rage Throughout Alaska
ON SITE–Hungry rescue workers receive meals and hot coffee from Salvation Army canteens.
The worst fire-related disaster in Alaska since 1958 has claimed more than 37,330 acres in the Big Lake region and destroyed more than 350 structures.
The Salvation Army was on site serving victims and emergency response workers shortly after the blaze broke out. Captains Mark and Martha Davey, Mat-Su Valley corps officers, and Corps Sergeant Major Theron Bond immediately began making sandwiches and coffee to serve the rescue workers.
Anchorage also dispatched a mobile canteen, to be stationed at Big Lake’s Houston High School where ’round the clock shifts of Army officers and volunteers served hot breakfasts, soup, sandwiches and coffee to hundreds of firefighters and other relief personnel. At times, flames raged within yards of the canteen.
According to a Reuters’ report, the blaze–human in origin–spread quickly through woodlands parched by a sustained drought. More than 1,300 firefighters and others fought to suppress the flames.
Meanwhile, another wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula has burned more than 23,000 acres and spread into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
A voucher system is in place to provide for those affected by the fire, with clothing items available through the Army’s Wasilla Thrift Store. Donations are being accepted at Salvation Army drop sites in Anchorage and Eagle River, and the People Mover, Anchorage’s rapid transit system, is also collecting donations for the Army at area bus stops.
Financial donations earmarked “Alaska Fire Relief” may be sent to any local Salvation Army unit.