Small wildfire doused by Tenakee Springs volunteers

Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Tenakee Springs Volunteer Fire Department successfully extinguished a small wildfire Friday near Freshwater Bay on Chichagof Island.

Three firefighters and one EMT responded Friday morning at about 10 a.m. to Pavlov Harbor, traveling about 15 miles by sea to the scene in the department's rescue boat, the Maggie's Wake.

No injuries were reported.

The fire was reported by a yacht in Freshwater Bay.

A careless campfire probably started the fire, Fire Chief Gordon Chew said. He said partially burned logs were found in a nearby creek.

When the crew arrived on scene, smoke could be seen billowing from the trees within the woods away from shore, Chew said.

"It's pretty rare around here to have a forest fire," Chew said, adding that it was the department's first.

Chew could not be certain Friday, but said he thought the land was owned by the state. He did not intend to conduct further investigation.

The 25-foot Maggie's Wake, a Munsen landing craft with a bow door, was purchased for the department in 2008 with grant funding.

The vessel is named after Maggie Wigen, whose disappearance in 2003 sparked a diligent search. The island community of about 100 had no search-and-rescue team at the time. Wiggin's body was found in a fresh grave after several days. Her death sparked the creation of the community's first rescue team.

The vessel is rigged as an ambulance as well as for firefighting. The crew on Friday drafted water through the bottom of the boat to extinguish the flames.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or kim.marquis@ juneauempire.com.



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