Quick response corrals Caribou Fire north of Homer

A smoke column rising from a forest with mountains in the background.
The Caribou Fire (#135) is burning about 23 miles northeast of Homer and about 2 miles west of Fox River on May 25, 2022. Photo credit courtesy of Fenya Basargin

Quick action by firefighters on the ground and in the air corralled a a wildfire about about 2 miles west of Fox River northeast of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula Wednesday evening. The Caribou Fire (#134) is burning about 2 miles east of Mud Drive.

Update 8 a.m., May 26: Containment was up to 20% last night with the 21 person Pioneer Peak Hotshot wildland crew on the fireline throughout the night. Cutting saw line, opening up areas of heat, mopping up and gridding are the tasks for today’s operational period. Helicopters and aerial support will be as needed. Readiness for initial attack is also important with the continuation of dry and hot conditions.

Update 6:30 p.m. May 25 from Kenai Fire Management Officer Howie Kent:

This evening fire is holding in the retardant line footprint at approximately 13.3 acres. The 12 smokejumpers will work with the Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew to cut a saw line around the perimeter.

With all of the new fire starts in Alaska, the goal is to get the smokejumpers back to Fairbanks tomorrow when it makes sense to get them back in position. A Forestry helicopter is still working but the tankers and fire bosses did great work today boxing the thick timber in and cooling off the flanks and hot areas. Torching was observed today and the trees are really dry.

We haven’t had significant rain in over a month. We ask that everyone please follow the burn permit suspensions and other wildfire related advisories in your area.

Kachemak Emergency Services responded initially but the fire is located in a remote area. Approximately 27 mostly primary off-grid residences are within a mile of the perimeter. With the success of the initial attack and the Fire bosses cooling off the flanks, no evacuations have been necessary. The fire looks to be holding in the footprint when the air tankers left. The goal for tonight is to get saw line aroud and work on mop up. Getting the jumpers back tomorrow is important for the next area that will need them. Pioneer Peak hotshots will remain on the fire securing the edge. A transfer of command between current Incident Commander Keenan Wallace and Kris Baumgartner will occur this evening, allowing Wallace to return to and reset with his helitack module.

Currently the cause of the fire is under investigation and reportedly started near a residence. We ask everyone to please share the information about the current burn permit suspension and very dry fuels.

4:35pm Update from Kenai Fire Management Officer Howie Kent: “Fire remains approximately 10 acres with no evacuations at this time. The air tankers are coordinating retardant placement while two helicopters are working bucket drops and the third finishes shuttling Pioneer Peak Hotshots.”

Update at 3:30 p.m.:

Two large air tankers are working to get fire retardant on the ground around the fire. Twelve smokejumpers are now on the ground and are beginning work. Three helicopters are working to drop buckets of water on the fire and shuttle the Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew to the fireline, according to Kenai Fire Management Officer Howie Kent. Kent reported the fire was estimated at 10 acres at 3:30 p.m. The fire is burning in a remote area inaccessible by road.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Operations is also posting updates on the KPB Alerts Facebook page and is communicating with nearby community members.

Additional updates will be inserted at the top of this page as they become available. Be sure to stay tuned to KPB Alerts.

Map showing a lot of green land and a dot representing a fire near Fox River.
The Caribou Fire (#135) is burning about 23 miles northeast of Homer and about 2 miles west of Fox River.

Categories: AK Fire Info

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