Alaska News

Dry conditions persist on Kenai Peninsula as crews contain 15-acre wildfire near Homer

A small wildland fire Wednesday afternoon threatened several homes near Homer before firefighting crews managed to control the blaze by evening.

Statewide, 84 wildfires including nine new starts on Tuesday have burned more than 11,000 acres so far this year, according to the state Division of Forestry, and forestry officials are warning that fire danger right now is extreme. Nearly all the wildfires are considered human-caused, with several fires this week linked to escaped burn piles.

The cause remains under investigation for the Homer fire, estimated at 15 acres on Thursday.

The fire moved toward several homes on Olia Court on Wednesday before it was contained, said Kale Casey, a state fire information officer.

Local firefighters responded to the scene in the late afternoon, when it was first reported, and worked with state forestry wildland crews to control the blaze, Casey said.

Several helicopters dropped retardant on the fire, which was burning in grass and alder with leaf litter underneath. The fire was under control by Wednesday night, he said, and local crews kept watch on the area overnight.

The Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew headed to Homer on Thursday morning to “mop up” the fire and make sure it was fully extinguished, forestry officials said.

Given the lack of lightning in the area, the fire was most likely human-caused, Casey said. Local conditions are extremely dangerous for wildfires right now because there is an abundance of dry grass and leaves, he said. A burn suspension went into effect several weeks ago for the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak.

“It’s really serious right now, because the next progression is, if it’s a mistake, it goes right into somebody’s garage or house,” Casey said.

A warming and drying trend moved into Southcentral and Southwest Alaska this week, Forestry officials say, with low relative humidities also expected in the Susitna Valley.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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