Poor Road Conditions Hamper Fire Response
A fire that broke out on Kostino Road in the vicinity of Nikolaevsk Monday morning drew a response from the State Division of Forestry, and fire departments from Anchor Point and as far away as Ninilchik and Homer.
According to the Alaska Wildland Fire Information site, the half-acre fire was reported to Alaska State Troopers around 11 a.m.
Though classified as a grass fire, upon arriving on-scene, firefighters found one out-building had already been destroyed, and three motor vehicles were on fire.
The fire, at around a half-acre, was contained by 12:30 p.m. and firefighters were released from the scene around 1:30 p.m. The cause is undetermined.
Homer Fire Chief Mark Kirko described the fire as potentially dangerous.
“As beautiful as it is outside tonight, today, we had a pretty significant scare in the Anchor Point area for a wild-land incident that took off and started to really progress and become a problem,” Kirko said. “There were over 20 state forestry personnel with five different vehicles respond to that incident. The city of Homer sent two vehicles, one tanker and one command unit, and then pretty much all of Ninilchik and Anchor Point fire responded to that incident.”
Kirko said road conditions were exceptionally bad and hampered the emergency response.
“This year with our extreme breakup conditions of roadways, two vehicles, two large vehicles got stuck trying to get to the scene,” he said. “Some of them were just told they could not get through. There was just no way that they were going to get there. And some of the smaller pickup truck like F550-type vehicles barely made it through.”
In an effort to keep residents safe, Kirko said he’s been working with other fire chiefs and wants to map where the problem roads are.
“My neighbors in the Pitzman (Road) area are telling me that they haven't seen it this bad in over 10 years. But that said there's a significant concern there. And if you live in the Homer area or in the Homer fire response area, which is the city of Homer and Kachemak City, and you have a road, a dirt road that has got such bad conditions of frost heaving, that we can't get a truck through, I would like to know that. And I would like people to call me at the fire station and tell me that.”
Later Monday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., a debris fire on North Fork Road got away and burned a tenth of an acre of wildland. It was called controlled at 5:10 p.m.