A wildfire that began burning near Wildman’s in Cooper Landing on Tuesday evening was being actively suppressed about an hour after it was first reported. Cooper Landing Emergency Services reported Tuesday around 6:10 p.m. that CLES and the Alaska Division of Forestry were responding to the scene and that the fire was located at Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway, near Wildman’s. Mop-up efforts on the fire started around 8:25 p.m., according to CLES.
In an updated shared to Facebook, CLES reported around 8:25 p.m. that smoke had “subsided substantially,” but that the amount and severity of area burned was unknown.
Motorists were asked to avoid that section of the Sterling Highway because of emergency vehicle traffic. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management reported around 7:15 p.m. that no evacuations were needed, but that motorists should continue to yield response vehicles and avoid the area.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Brenda Ahlberg said Tuesday that initial estimates put the fire at about half of an acre and emphasized that there was no need for evacuation. Ahlberg said there were crews already in the area when the fire broke out who were able to respond.
“Timing was everything,” Ahlberg said.
Ahlberg emphasized the need for people to firewise their properties to help prevent the spread of fires.
An Alaska Division of Forestry as well as the hand crews and local resources were all still responding as of 7:15 p.m. Cooper Landing Emergency Services said via Facebook Messenger at around 7:30 p.m. that the fire was being “actively worked on by multiple agencies” and that hand crews were on scene in addition to consistent helicopter drops.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough began a burn suspension Tuesday, per the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which cited a “lack of precipitation and windy conditions” that caused the area to become “highly susceptible” to debris burns escaping from their intended area.
Tuesday’s fire came days after Cooper Landing Emergency Services and the U.S. Forest Service responded to a different fire near Sportsman’s Landing on Sunday in Cooper Landing. Air support was provided as were forestry hand crews, with mop-up work beginning later that evening.
The department advised members of the public to check previous burn debris piles to ensure no heat remains.
More information about wildland fires in Alaska can be found on the Department of Natural Resources’ website at forestry.alaska.gov.
This is a developing story.
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct closest landmark to the fire.