A Monday evening structure fire on Shadura Road near Kasilof drew fire crews from Central Emergency Services to extinguish the burning building and from the Alaska Division of Forestry to prevent it from igniting a wildfire. Neighbors said the building had been long-deserted and no one was inside. Central Emergency Services responders had not confirmed the circumstances as of Tuesday evening.
Fire Management Officer Howie Kent of the state Forestry Division said his agency sent eight firefighters and an investigator to the scene after getting a call around 7 p.m. Forestry usually sends wildfire crews to rural structure fires “to prevent an already bad situation from becoming worse,” Kent said.
“We usually respond to structure fires this time of year when we know our indices are high to very high, as they have been,” Kent said. “We have a lot of wildland-urban interface, where the homes are built into the woods, and more times than not we’ll get wildland involvement from structures burning in that area.”
On Sunday, the Forestry Division suspended burning permits on the Kenai Peninsula due to high winds. Though the suspension ended Monday, the division warned in a press release that “a high fire danger still exists in several areas of the peninsula and that fuels remain highly receptive to fire.”
At Monday’s Shadura Road fire, Kent said the forest burnt was “minimal, less than a tenth of an acre,” though given dry conditions it could have been worse.
“One of the saving graces was that relative humidities were higher at that time of the day,” he said. “If that fire had started at say, two o’clock in the afternoon instead of seven o’clock in the evening, the relative humidity would have been a little bit lower and it would have had more potential to spread. … There’s a potential for a fire to go big this time of year whether we have a fire coming off a structure, a vehicle, or somebody’s escaped debris fire, or whatever the cause is.”
Reach Ben Boettger at firstname.lastname@example.org