Monday, February 27, 2006

Wildfire 2005

Summer 2005: Lightning Fire

In June we received news from Alaska that a forest fire, sparked by a thunderstorm, had been quickly racing down the mountainside a mile to the South of our cabins. Friends from Fairbanks quickly flew in and heroically stationed themselves on the property to protect the cabins. By this time the fire engulfed over 2500 acres and burned most of the valley and mountains at the south end of the lake. After battling with the state bureaucracy for some time, smokejumpers finally arrived to tempered the blaze. However, the fire was not extinguished and hotspots continued to threaten to jump the burn lines on our northern side. In mid-July Heather and Dawn flew in to relieve half of the fire crew, learn the difficult art of "reading" smoke, and continue the hard labor of clearing brush and dead trees from around the cabins.

By Fall, the fire, although cresting the edge of the mountain overlooking the cabin, had begun to quiet down and the cabins remained untouched. The cold weather and snow of winter have hopefully put the fire to rest forever, although in the arctic it is possible for fires to live under the groundcover all winter only to come back and surprise you in the spring. We are hoping for no surprises!