Alaska News

Kenai Peninsula wildfire threatens homes

A small number of homes near Ninilchik were evacuated Saturday while firefighters contained a minor wildland fire burning in a residential neighborhood there, according to a fire official.

The fire, which started around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, had consumed 3 acres near a subdivision off Oilwell Road by 4 p.m., said Howie Kent, fire management officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry’s Kenai and Kodiak region.

“At this time, the forward progression of the fire is slowed,” Kent said around 4 p.m., though he noted it might take much longer — at least a couple of days — before it was fully extinguished.

Though Kent said he didn’t know the exact number of homes that were evacuated, he said it was small number, perhaps two. None were destroyed, he said, and no injuries were reported.

“There was one home that was scorched but not lost, so just some minor damage from the passing flamage front,” he said.

The fire, which Kent called a “good preseason drill,” is believed to be human-caused though the exact cause is still under investigation, he said.

Part of the reason the fire spread so quickly, Kent said, is because the area had a large number of dead, fallen trees and standing snags that had been ravaged by spruce bark beetles.

[Spruce bark beetles are back with a vengeance. Here’s how to defend your trees.]

Madeline McGee

Madeline McGee is a general assignment reporter for the Daily News.