Fire update: 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019

Sep 7, 2019

Kachemak Emergency Services crew in front of the station on Ashwood Avenue off East End Road at mile 11
Credit KESA

The Caribou Lake Fire, 25 miles northeast of Homer, is estimated to be 94% contained at 870 acres. The Alaska Department of Forestry expects to call the fire 100% contained soon.

Kachemak Emergency Services Chief Bob Cicciarella, spoke with KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson today at noon for this update.
 

Transcript:

KBBI:
Chief Bob Cicciarella, from Kachemak Emergency Services, can you give an update on what's happening out at Caribou Lake?

Chief Cicciarella:
 Yes, crews are working towards demobilizing. The fire is mostly contained. They have worked towards doing about a 200-foot cold track going in from the perimeter of the fire and they've been working on that for the past week or so. The intention is that there will be some areas of heat that will be left over in the interior where there's difficult terrain, very steep terrain, but they will continue to do flyovers to monitor it.
Their goal is to be demobilized by Sunday, this coming Sunday, or tomorrow (Sunday, September 8, 2019).

KBBI:
Crews from Kachemak Emergency Services are going to get to go home and not come back, right?

Chief Cicciarella:
 Yes. We've actually already demobilized our teams. They have been trying to get much-needed rest. Although we have had some additional responses outside of that area with the burn ban that was lifted.

There is still a burn suspension in place. Which means. No burn permits, outside burning of Slash piles or burn barrels. However, warming fires campfires within a campfire ring and so forth are now allowed.
You still can't burn slash piles while that suspension is in place.

KBBI:
Small campfires and charcoal briquettes are okay now.

Chief Cicciarella:
Exactly, yes.

KBBI:
 Kachemak Emergency Services crew has demobilized now, but here we are the next day, Saturday, and you are teaching a class?

Chief Cicciarella:
Yes, we had a Firefighter 1 class going on while the fires were happening. We had to suspend that and now we're back to it again. That is running on Tuesday and Thursday nights and all day Saturdays.

KBBI:
Keeping it going, Chief. I just want to thank you for how available you've been to KBBI but also for all the crews’ work, all of your work on the Caribou Lake Fire.

Chief Cicciarella:
Well, thank you very much. And I also want to thank KBBI for getting these messages out. The entire community has just been fantastic, the food for the firefighters, the support. It's been very heartfelt by all of our crews knowing that the community has been behind us throughout these two major events.

KBBI:
Is there anything else that you want to add?
 

Chief Cicciarella:
We aren't out of the woods yet. Yes, we are getting some rain today and that's a big help. But, when we got the rain about a week ago, it touched the surface. And as soon as some of that wet dirt touched the bottom of your boots, that stuck to your boots, and right underneath it was very dry and powdery. The dirt was just like flour. So, please be careful out there and be aware of that. We are not out of the woods yet.

KBBI:
Thank you so much, Chief Cicciarella. There is one more thing I want to ask.
Do you know that your website is down?

Chief Cicciarella:
Yes, our website is down right now. It is in maintenance.
There was a security breach on it so we are working on the fix for that.

KBBI:
Can you talk about the security breach?

Chief Cicciarella:
I don't have all the information on it, but it had to do with the firewall. But, nobody did anything malicious, just somebody got past the firewall.

KBBI:
Thank you very much.

Chief Cicciarella:
All right. Thank you. Have a good day.