Dry weather paired with an abandoned campfire set about six acres of land in Womens Bay ablaze on Saturday. David Conrad is the assistant fire chief for the Womens Bay Fire Department and said he received a report of smoke from a person driving by the Salonie Creek Bridge Saturday afternoon.
The fire was on the Northern side of the Salonie Creek Valley, right by the bridge. Conrad said an unattended campfire was found in the area, which spread onto the dry, dead grass surrounding it. He said the six acres that burned belongs to the borough, but the State Department of Forestry came to Kodiak on Sunday to investigate.
— (Flats Fire 2 :06 “And unfortunately there was no evidence per say to be able to trace who would have set the fire.”)
Firefighters from all three fire stations in Kodiak worked for almost six hours to contain the fire, but Conrad said part of that was waiting for the wind to change.
— (Flats Fire 3 :16 “Well it was a longer time because we actually let some of it burn because of the wind direction. And we allowed it to burn because it wasn’t threatening structures. And then we just went around the perimeter and mopped up the perimeter so it wouldn’t reflash.”)
He said vegetation on the parcel of land will definitely grow back, and might even be healthier thanks to nutrients in the remaining ash. It’s a silver lining to what could have been a bad situation if houses or buildings were in the area.
Conrad said the streak of dry weather has definitely left much of Kodiak vulnerable and people need to better manage their fires. For starters –
— (Flats Fire 4 :16 “Not starting fires, whether they are camp fires or controlled burns, in areas that are close to dry grass.”)
He said people should also always have a water supply nearby, which is a requirement of the burn permits issued through the city and borough.