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FAIRBANKS, ALASKA — A spokesman for U.S. Army Alaska has backed away from recent statements by the Fort Wainwright garrison commander that base training exercises started a wildfire east of Fairbanks. However, the Army also began accepting damage claims from those who think they have been affected by the Army’s “possible wrongdoing.”
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that as of Tuesday, the Stuart Creek 2 Fire had burned 128 square miles. Light rain and cooler temperatures gave firefighters a break. More than 700 people are assigned to fight the fire. The Chena River continued to buffer homes from the blaze.
Army spokesman Maj. Alan Brown said Tuesday that an official investigation into the fire’s cause will take place once it’s out.
The newspaper says garrison commander Col. Ron Johnson told a community meeting last weekend that the base had taken some efforts to reduce fire risk but that its personnel had started the fire during training exercises last month.