Mop-up efforts continue for a 2.5-acre fire that began burning near Wildman’s in Cooper Landing on Tuesday evening.
Dubbed the Kenai Lake Overlook Fire, multiple agencies responded to the blaze Tuesday including the U.S. Forest Service, Cooper Landing Emergency Services, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management and the Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain Type 2 crew and helicopter.
The White Mountain Type 2 crew, based in Fairbanks, was already in travel status when the fire broke out and was able to support the fire’s initial attack. Cooper Landing Emergency Services reported around 8:55 p.m. Tuesday that the fire was “knocked down.”
The fire was first reported to be burning near Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway by Cooper Landing Emergency Services at around 6:10 p.m. Tuesday. 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 to response vehicles and avoid the area.
“Wildfires can start at any time and grow very quickly in these dry spring conditions,” the Alaska Division of Forestry wrote in a Wednesday morning update. “Please do your part to protect yourself, your community and Alaska.”
Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Brenda Ahlberg said Tuesday that “timing was everything” when it came to initial response and that the crews already in the area were able to respond right away. She emphasized the need for people to firewise their properties to help prevent the spread of fires.
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.