Fire near Homer spreads

1,200-acre blaze moves away from cabins in the area

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A forest fire burning in the Caribou Hills northeast of Homer continued to grow Wednesday despite efforts by 30 firefighters to stifle it, Department of Natural Resources officials.

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The 1,200-acre blaze moved south Wednesday morning, away from cabins in the recreational area but toward a Homer Electric Association transmission line. Smokejumpers and forestry firefighters worked to put in hose lines to protect the line, said Kris Eriksen, a Division of Forestry spokeswoman.

"There are significantly more cabins to the north, and the fire hasn't spread that way yet," Eriksen said.

Fire crews evacuated two people by helicopter Tuesday night and saved several cabins but lost one to the fire. Warm temperatures and low humidity in the area 14 miles east of Ninilchik contributed to the fire's spread.

"Right now, it is actively running on both sides of Deep Creek Dome," she said.

A resident Tuesday reported the human-caused fire burning about a mile southeast of her home when it was only about 100 acres.

It tripled in size in 90 minutes and within five hours the fire had reached 800 to 1,000 acres, said Dale Anderegg, a helicopter attack foreman directing operations from a flat area near a lake off Oilwell Road.

Crews worked until 1 a.m. Wednesday fighting the blaze and reported the fire was active most of the night. They dropped five loads of retardant on the fire and a helicopter dropped water from a lake on it. Four bulldozers also helped build fire lines.

"We're making some good progress (in protecting structures)," Scott Yukimura, a pilot for Temsco Helicopters in Soldotna, said Tuesday night. "We've got both sides ... so now it's just going up the hill."

The lost structure belonged to Rob Coreson north of Deep Creek.

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