Helo drops buckets of water on fire near Kenai

Kenai Fire Department and the Alaska Division of Forestry battled a fire just outside of city limits northwest of the Kenai Municipal Airport Wednesday night.

The fire was reported by a floatplane pilot at about 6:40 p.m., Kenai Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Prior said.

The fire department responded with two engines, a brush truck, a rescue and firefighting aircraft and an all terrain-vehicle. Eight department personal reported to the scene, Prior said.

Prior said the half-an-acre fire was at the end of an ATV trail in a swamp area, so it was difficult to reach. Firefighters had to hike to the blaze and fight it by hand, Prior said.

Wildland Fire Resource Technician Nikos Kilcher with Forestry said the division sent three engines to the fire as well as a helicopter and 13 personal Wednesday.

“We dispatched a forestry helicopter to be able to do the bucket drops with the helicopter,” Prior said. “Otherwise, we would have not even came close to get handle on it as quickly as we did. Forestry’s helicopter was a godsend for that.”

Kilcher said the main body of the fire was in string of black spruce trees, but there were five spot fires in some grass ahead of the fire.

Thursday afternoon Kilcher said there were still a “few smokes” remaining after the fire was suppressed. He said three firefighters from Forestry stayed on scene overnight Wednesday. Seven firefighters from the Forest Service Region 10 crew were on the scene Thursday, and he estimated containment would be reached Thursday night. He said he expects the fire to be determined controlled Friday with three status checks to follow before it is called out.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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