Tustumena fire contained, cleanup continues

The fire was caused by an escaped campfire and discovered last weekend

The Tustumena Lake fire has been completely contained, and though the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday that fire activity in the area has been minimal since Tuesday, “extensive” mop up efforts are ongoing.

The Tustumena Lake fire was caused by an escaped campfire and discovered last weekend, on June 29. It grew to 35 acres by the next morning but firefighters from the division and from Central Emergency Services have been able to keep the fire from spreading any further.

On Thursday, July 4, the division reported it had reached 100% containment on the fire.

Containment refers to how much of the fire’s perimeter is entirely controlled, stopping the fire’s movement in that direction.

The fire is around 20 miles south of Soldotna, close to Tustumena Lake in Kasilof. The fire is in a thickly wooded area of black spruce, which the division says has “a heavy accumulation of downed and dead debris, requiring extensive mop up to secure the area safely before releasing the crews.”

On Friday, 34 people were still assigned to the fire, but the update said managers would be releasing “unneeded” resources.

An update on Friday says that suppression forces, including the Division’s Pioneer Peak Hotshots, will continue extinguishing hot spots along the fire’s edge while now also beginning to target hot spots “well within the fire perimeter to minimize the risk of the fire spreading to adjacent lands.”

Slackwater boat launch and Tustumena Campground were closed last weekend in response to the fire but reopened on Tuesday. Centennial Lake Campground is still closed because it’s being used as a staging area for firefighting resources.

“The fire poses no threat to the residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough at this time,” they write.

More information about Alaska wildfires can be found at akfireinfo.com, updates from the borough can be found at “KPB Alerts” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.