Residents allowed home as firefighter strengthen fire lines

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - After successfully completing a firing operation, fire officials have lifted many of the evacuations from the shovel creek fire.

Firefighters deliberately burned areas from Murphy Dome around Martin Subdivision, and then down to the Chatanika river, effectively boxing in the fire. Crews continue to strengthen firelines to protect communities.

The evacuation notices for the area have been downgraded, and people are being allowed to return home.

Martin, Perfect Perch, and McCloud subdivisions are in a 'level 2 set' evacuation stage, the rest of the neighborhoods under evacuation notices remain in a 'level 1: Ready' status.

The Shovel Creek fire has burned over 18,000 acres, and there are 852 personnel working it. That fire is considered the highest priority wildfire in the entire United States right now.

High winds and thunderstorms over the weekend could pose a challenge for crews, as well as low visibility from smoke. The fire is currently 15 percent contained.