Weekly fire report: 19 human caused fires in Alaska last week

There have now been 37 human caused fires in Alaska so far this season, 19 of them occurred just last week. The US National Weather Service Alaska issued a Red Flag Warning from noon Sunday, May 14 and extended through midnight on Tuesday, May 16. Burn permits are currently suspended in the Fairbanks, Salcha, and Railbelt areas of Division of Forestry & Fire Protection’s Fairbanks protection area. Burn permits are also suspended in the Delta area. These suspensions are due to dry conditions and high, Chinook winds coming out of the Alaska Range and expected to last through the Red Flag Warning Tuesday night.  

A breakdown of fire activity across Alaska over the last week is below. The snow is melting off and all dead fuels can ignite readily. Fires will start easily from most causes. Unattended or unsafe fires are likely to escape. Remember, you’re responsible for every fire you start.

Flight over the Soapstone Fire that was started from an escaped burn barrel near Sutton on Saturday, May 13. Photo/Mat-Su DOF

Mat-Su: 10 human caused fires

May 8: Matcom called and reported several vehicles on fire with fire spreading towards the wildland and a farm. Mat-Su DOF Initial Attack responded to the incident and stopped the forward rate of the fire. The fire was burning in grass and mixed hardwood fuel and also burned vehicles and machinery. The fire was controlled at 1.2 acres and placed in monitor status. Mat-Su DOF continued to check and grid the fire and hazmat personnel also attended to the scene. The cause was determined to be from a mechanical breakdown of equipment on the property that spread into the grass.

May 11: Matcom called and reported a residential fire on May 11, upon arrival it was determined to be an escaped fire from a unapproved burning device that was threatening a shed. Mat-Su DOF and Palmer Fire worked together to contain the fire at .2 acres.

May 12: A .5 acre fire was paged out by Matcom near Meadow Lakes. Mat-Su DOF engines and personnel responded and found a fire smoldering in grass and hardwoods. The fire was contained and controlled at .2 acres and was human caused.

May 12: Matcom reported a structure fire spreading into the wildland off Palmer Fishook. Mat-Su DOF and Palmer Fire responded. The wildland fire portion was contained and controlled at .1 acres.

May 13: Matcom reported of a grass fire that was threatening structures. One Forestry engine and helitack responded and contained and controlled the fire at .1 acres. Forestry personnel on scene gridded the fire before handing the scene over to the homeowner.

May 13: Matcom paged out for an escaped burn pile. The fire was burning in grass and brush and spreading into the trees. DOF personnel arrived to a .2 acre fire. The fire was contained and controlled.

May 13: Matcom paged out report of an escaped burn barrel heading for the trees off Soapstone Road. Two Forestry engines and helitack responded. Once on scene, unified command was established with Palmer fire department. Using bucket operations and direct attack the fire was contained and controlled at .2 acres. The fire site will continue to be monitored by Mat-Su DOF.  

May 13: Matcom paged out for a .2 acre fire that was an escaped burn in the grass and spreading into black spruce. Mat-Su DOF personnel responded and contained the fire. The fire was human caused and will be monitored.

May 13: Matcom paged out a report of a controlled burn that had escaped and was in the trees. Two Forestry engines, helitack, and Prevention responded. Once on scene unified command was established with Central Mat-Su Fire Department. Resources on scene extinguished the burn and conducted a grid. The fire was called contained and controlled at .2 acres and will be monitored.

May 14: Matcom reported a 20×20 grass fire which was spreading to a tree after escaping a burn barrel. Three engines and prevention responded to Tina Lane and established unified command with area fire departments. The fire was found to be smoldering in mixed hardwoods and personnel were able to contain the fire.

Flight over Johnson Fire in Funny River on May 11. Photo/Kenai-Kodiak DOF

Kenai-Kodiak: Five human caused fires

A report of wildland fire came from Alaska State Troopers on May 9 and Kenai-Kodiak DOF responded. DOF resources found an escaped burn pile that began spreading into the grass. The fire was contained and controlled at .1 acres and was human caused.

CES reported a wildland fire on May 11 off of Funny River Road that was rapidly spreading into grass and timber fuels in a residential area. Kenai-Kodiak DOF responded with a helicopter and three engines. Firefighters worked to achieve containment within a few hours. The fire was .3 acres in size and human caused.

The Alaska State Troopers reported a fire in Anchor Point that escaped from a resident burning brush piles on May 12. West Emergency Services and Kenai-Kodiak DOF responded. The fire was contained and controlled at .1 acres.

A report of an escaped fire pit came in from the Alaska State Troopers on May 12. The fire has spread in grass and caught a tree on fire. Nikiski SFD and Kenai-Kodiak DOF responded with engines and a helicopter. The fire was contained at .1 acres and was human caused.

Kenai-Kodiak received a report of a doghouse on fire that was spreading into the grass on May 13. Kenai-Kodiak DOF Prevention and one engine responded, along with CES. The fire was contained and controlled at .2 acres and was human caused.

Fairbanks: Two human caused fires

A local resident reported a small brush fire on the side of Old Richardson Hwy across from the Salcha Transfer Site on May 8. One DOF engine responded as well as city resources. The fire was called out at .1 acres and was human caused.

Fairbanks Police Department reported a fire on May 9 at the South Cushman Shooting Range. The fire burned 1 acre in grass on a hillside. No values were reported to be at risk and DOF personnel continue to monitor the site for signs of heat and smoke.

Fort Wainwright:

Range Control reported a white smoke near the Fort Wainwright Stewart Creek Impact Area in the Yukon Training Area on May 12. An engine and three personnel scouted the incident estimating the fire to be under 5 acres and burning in an old burn scar. Personnel will observe area from ground or air as conditions allow.

Categories: Alaska DNR - Division of Forestry (DOF), Fire Weather

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