June 15, 2015 7:16 AM EDT

Homes were being evacuated and fire crews from the Lower 48 states were racing to a wildfire north of Anchorage, Alaska, that grew to 6,500 acres in just hours, authorities said early Monday.

The so-called Sockeye Fire, in the town of Willow, about 80 miles north of Anchorage, forced firefighters on the defensive as aircraft continually drop water and fire retardant Sunday night, the state Forestry Department said.

Authorities wouldn’t speculate on containment as residents along a stretch of more than 5 miles of the George Parks Highway began fleeing. The number of evacuations wasn’t immediately available, but the Anchorage Fire Department said “numerous” structures were threatened…

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