High winds across Kachemak Bay cause power outage, forest fire

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

High winds across Kachemak Bay led to a power outage and small forest fire about 6 p.m. Wednesday on the south side of Kachemak Bay.

According to a Homer Electric Association press release, four spans of power line were knocked down by trees in the McKeon Flats area, across Kachemak Bay from the Homer Spit.

Residents from Halibut Cove to Tutka Bay lost power in the incident.

The downed line sparked a forest fire in the area that was reported to the Division of Forestry. A Forestry helicopter was dispatched to the scene but continued high winds prevented it from landing.

Poor weather conditions also kept an HEA crew from flying to the area Wednesday night, so they took a boat to the site and de-energized the downed line.

According to Forestry, the half-acre fire was reported to be slowly spreading through downed trees and ground vegetation Wednesday night, and about 20 area residents along with 50 occupants of the Otter Cove Resort prepared to evacuate with assistance from Alaska State Troopers.

Area resident Zach Porter, along HEA crew member Jeff Graham, worked on the fire for a couple of hours Wednesday to knock flames out of the trees to prevent blowing embers and any further spreading, according to Forestry.

No structures were damaged by the fire.

On Thursday, light rain fell on the fire, which was reduced to smoldering.

Forestry is monitoring the fire and plans to send a crew to the scene today by boat to completely extinguish it.

HEA workers took a helicopter to the scene and began repairs Thursday morning, and power was restored to Halibut Cove at 10:04 a.m. Power was expected to be fully restored by the end of the day.

"We're still over there. I fully expect we'll be able to wrap it up before too late this afternoon or early this evening," said HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher on Thursday afternoon.

HEA also had an outage in the Kasilof-Clam Gulch area to contend with Thursday.

At 6:05 a.m., residents lost power due to a failed insulator on a pole near Clam Gulch. Power was restored to most residents by 8 a.m., according to Gallagher. Residents of the North Cohoe Loop area had to wait until 10:38 a.m. to have power restored, due to a tree on a power line.

South Cohoe Loop residents got their power back at 11:56 a.m., after another failed insulator was repaired.

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