Copyright 2006 Anchorage Daily News
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By S.J. KOMARNITSKY and ANDREW WELLNER Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Daily News (Alaska)
WASILLA, Alaska — The night of June 3, 1996, Tonia Julian was just leaving her log home on Stepan Lake to shop for a bike for her 5-year-old grandson. As she and her husband, Jim, stepped outside, she looked up and saw a giant, mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke looming just north of her home.
She knew right away it was a forest fire.
Alaska residents recall reach of 1996 blaze; state's most destructive wildfire ever