Lightning sparks wildland fires on Kenai Peninsula

Jun 6, 2019

 

A photo of the Tustumena Lake Fire taken at 11 p.m. Wednesday illustrates the effect retardant and water drops had on the fire.
Credit Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry

More thunderstorms are in the forecast for the end of the week and lightning associated with that weather sparked several wildland fires on the Kenai Peninsula Wednesday.

Three happened east of Sterling, near Watson Lake. Those fires are mostly contained to a wetlands area, and aren’t posing any threat to property.

 

Further south, near Tustumena Lake, lightning sparked a grass fire that quickly grew to more than 100 acres. Division of Forestry spokesperson Andy Alexandrou says calm winds have helped crews manage that fire. Fifteen personnel from hotshot and initial attack crews were dispatched Wednesday night, with more coming Thursday morning.

 

“We now have 42 people on the Tustumena Lake fire and it is at a 75 percent containment of the fire perimeter. It’s looking really good. We’ve got a hotshot crew out there and a Type 2 crew out there, some heli-attack and some engine crews from the Soldotna office.”

 

Firefighers made retardant and water drops and deployed teams of smoke jumpers from the Kenai and Fairbanks. The fire is burning in the footprint of the 2007 Caribou Hills fire and was estimated Thursday afternoon at 120-acres.