1st wildfire of season sparked near Homer

State Forestry firefighters received a call regarding a fire off East Hill Road on Wednesday.

The aftermath of a small grass fire off East Hill Road near Homer, Alaska, is seen here on April 8, 2020. The fire was started by a discarded cigarette. (Photo by Matt James/Alaska Division of Forestry)

The aftermath of a small grass fire off East Hill Road near Homer, Alaska, is seen here on April 8, 2020. The fire was started by a discarded cigarette. (Photo by Matt James/Alaska Division of Forestry)

A discarded cigarette butt is the culprit behind the first wildfire of the season on the Kenai Peninsula.

Firefighters from the Alaska Division of Forestry and the Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded to a small grass fire near Homer on Wednesday, according to an April 9 update from the Alaska Division of Forestry.

State Forestry firefighters received a call regarding a fire off East Hill Road at 2:49 p.m. on Wednesday. By the time State Forestry arrived on scene, firefighters from the Homer Volunteer Fire Department already had the fire contained and under control.

The fire, which was about 30 square feet, burned mostly grass and scorched some low branches on nearby trees.

A person on scene reportedly told firefighters that he had discarded a cigarette butt in the grass and extinguished it with his foot, but saw the grass burning a few minutes later and called State Forestry.

The fire burned in an area that was free of snow, and illustrates how dry the conditions are on the southern peninsula, Forestry officials said in the update.

In anticipation of the impacts of COVID-19 on Alaska’s wildland firefighting resources this summer, the Division of Forestry is suspending all burn permits starting April 30.

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