Mayor Ward declares disaster emergency due to Shovel Creek Fire

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Shovel Creek Fire continues to burn and is demanding increasing resources from the borough. Tuesday afternoon, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward declared a disaster emergency within the borough due to the fire."The disaster declaration allows the borough to use resources to provide emergency planning, alerting, and notification, information management, and sheltering in excess of the $20,000 resource allocated in the FY 19-20 budget," said Ward. Borough officials anticipate the hot weather conditions over the holiday weekend will cause the fire to continue to grow and threaten more structures.

A shelter is being run by the American Red Cross at Randy Smith Middle School located at 1401 Bainbridge Blvd, Fairbanks, AK 99701. "We provide meals, provide snacks, we provide a place to sleep, there's a place to shower, to maintain their cleanliness, they can also come just for informational purposes," said Shayne Jones, Disaster Program Manager with the Far North and Interior of Alaska, American Red Cross. Jones says there has been an increase in residents checking into the shelter after initially spending money on hotel rooms.

There is an emergency animal shelter at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds on 1800 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709. Sandy Hill, Shelter Operations Supervisor with the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter, says they only have 5 animals at the moment, but the capacity for much more. "A lot of people won't leave their homes if they don't have a place for their pets and "it's really stressful for people not knowing where to bring them, so we offer this to the people as a safe place for their pets until they can find something else, or they're welcome to stay for the duration of the event as well."

There are currently about 50 homes in a level 3 (GO) evacuation status.