Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KENAI: Fires Finally Contained
Alaska Region, July 10, 2005
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Abnormal weather struck Alaska's Kenai Peninsula this summer bringing intense thunder storm activity and approximately 1,000 lightning strikes in a little over a week, several of which started wildfires. The dozen or so fires on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge drew the most attention, especially the King County Creek Fire which burned over 10,000 acres in just a few days. Approximately 300 firefighters from across the U.S. helped the Refuge contain the fire. Since the fire was located in designated Wilderness, fire crews used "light hand techniques" and did not use heavy equipment on the fire line and used water rather than retardant on aerial drops. The tactics were successful and most crews were released July 10 after containment was achieved. Rapid response to other fires, including one threatening the Kenai Cooperative Moose Research Center, have resulted in no loss to life or private property from the fires. One fire (the Irish Channel Fire on the far side of Skilak Lake) has been allowed to burn for resource benefits and receives daily monitoring and evaluation. The Refuge understands the many benefits certain fires may bring and often allows those to burn that provide no significant risk to local communities.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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