Alaska News

Report: Trees scorched by 2015 Kodiak wildfire likely to die

KODIAK — A recent report predicts a mass tree die-off on Kodiak Island Borough land that was scorched by a wildfire last summer.

The borough hired Joe Stanley of Washington state-based NorthWind Forest Consultants to inspect the borough's 800 acres of damaged land near Chiniak, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

Stanley's report provided Feb. 4 says that 10 percent of the property's trees were assessed and graded on visible damage.

The report says the August 2015 fire will effectively wipe out trees, and adds that "the expected mortality will be extensive."

Stanley found that 90 percent of the area's trees sustained substantial damage in the crowns, while one-fourth had substantial damage to the roots. Nearly half the trees were found to have significant damage to their trunks.

The borough's parcel of land contains 61,477 "commercially viable trees" or about 79 per acre, according to the report. Stanley estimates that about 6,138 trees, or eight per acre, were left undamaged by the blaze.

The report says none of the sample areas it assessed escaped substantial fire damage, and estimates just 3 percent of the land was left largely untouched by the flames.