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Alaska fire claims over 75 buildings

June 24, 2007

Anchorage, Alaska - The Alaska Division of Forestry says the Caribou Hills wildfire is now over 70,000 acres and moving in the direction of Clam Gulch.

The Alaska Division of Forestry says the Caribou Hills wildfire is now over 70,000 acres and moving in the direction of Clam Gulch.

High winds have pushed the northwestern edge of the fire in the direction of Clam Gulch, near Kenai, but a Forestry official told that bogs and creeks there should slow it down considerably. reports that at least 34 cabins and one year-round home had burned, along with about 40 outbuildings, as the fire moved through the Ninilchik 40 subdivision where many of the 400 firefighters on the ground defended structures on Saturday.

A Forestry official told it is more like 40 cabins and 50 outbuildings.

The latest press release form the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management at noon Friday 6/23/07 3:30 PM:

The Caribou Hills Fire continues to grow this afternoon as an easterly wind pushes it to the west. The western perimeter, south of Deep Creek, is increasingly active and the fire's air resources have been called to assist in slowing the fire. Concern is that if it continues to push west down the drainage, it could move north across Deep Creek again. Residents are reminded that Oilwell Road is closed and there is no permitted access into the area due to continued safety concerns.

The fire is also increasingly active on the northwest corner. Fire managers are beginning to assess the area to the west in the event the fire moves that way. Incident Commander Dave Jandt says communities to the west are not in any danger right now, but it's important to plan ahead. "This fire has shown us it can move quickly. It's important that we look to the future and plan for possibilities. If the fire moves farther in that direction, we want to have a plan already in place." The fire is more active in the Ninilchik 40 subdivision as well, but previous structure protection work is helping fire fighters in that area. The rain expected over the fire area did not materialize as heavily as hoped and has not made a significant impact on the fire, although the higher humidity has helped.

Fire air operations personnel ask that pilots please respect the Temporary Flight Restriction that is in place over the fire area. There have been numerous incursions of private aircraft into the airspace creating as dangerous situation for firefighting aircraft.

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