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The Kenai Fire and Hunting

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  • The Kenai Fire and Hunting

    First off let me say I sincerely hope KP residents escape this fire unharmed.

    That said, this fire will ultimately have a net positive effect on hunting on the Kenai that will last decades. This will be particularly true for moose hunting because nothing regenerates ungulate habitat like fire. The Swanson River fire in the 60's, once it recovered, made the Kenai the moose hunting mecca of Alaska, and it look like it will again. In 10 years or so things are going to get good.

    I know this fire has folks worried, and with good reason, but the sooty black silver lining in all this is it will recover and when it does it will be great again for about 30 years.

    If some feel this is a bit premature, I apologize.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  • #2
    I spend a lot of time in that area for work and there is no doubt there was a ridiculous amount of fuel there, pretty much as there is all over the refuge since they won't do anything about it. This was inevitable, likewise its going to happen north of the highway eventually. We're very fortunate the winds have been blowing out of the north pushing that fire deeper into un-populated refuge. I am concerned for the few private cabins on Tustumena and what's left of the historic trapper cabins, I'm afraid their likely lost, glad I had a chance to stay in one.

    That said you are correct, nature needs this fire and she's finally getting it in a big way.

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    • #3
      H​ow many acres have burned so far?
      Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mjm316 View Post
        H​ow many acres have burned so far?
        20,000 is the most recent estimate I've read. Judging by the growth in acreage today, though, that number will likely be obsolete by the time I hit submit.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Brian M View Post
          20,000 is the most recent estimate I've read. Judging by the growth in acreage today, though, that number will likely be obsolete by the time I hit submit.
          I already heard 30,000 acres.
          The 2005(?) fire down our way burned 54,000 acres. (Caribou hills fire).
          I must agree tho. These fires are much needed. Not just for habitat, but to give the terrain some breaks in fire fuel contents. Later on it can help firefighting efforts having said breaks.
          Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
          WWG1WGA! QANON

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          • #6
            If this fire doesnt take a turn, it is a godsend. One could not have scripted a finer prescribed burn that is long over due. Yes. I feel for anyone that has a cabin on the south shore of tustemena lake. I am headed for the caribou hills in the morning to do some work around me buddies cabin in the morning to make sure we dont lose it AGAIN! I dont believe this fire will do moose alot of good like the fire of the 60's did. This one is running g so fast through the beatle kill pushed by high winds. It wont hit the ground. Just the tree tops. But it will sure mitigate any future fires. Had this one started down south, and pushed by south winds, it would bave been devastating rather tha. A non-event.

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            • #7
              Unfortunately where we really need the fire/s we can't afford to let burn......just too many people. Even with this fire, if the wind starts to come from the east a lot of people can be in a world of hurt real quick.

              But, at this point, every fire helps if we can keep people's property out of harms way......
              Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by limon32 View Post
                there was a ridiculous amount of fuel there, pretty much as there is all over the refuge since they won't do anything about it.
                I'm not sure that's the case. The federal government as a whole has had a relative come to Jesus on the necessity for fire over the last few decades. Controlled burns are even included in the KNWR management plan. My understanding is that the problem lies more with the public and with the process to get to a burn. The process I believe requires a proposed area and then a public comment period. I believe that's where the wheels have fallen off. There's so much anti-fire sentiment/ignorance that the public largely shoots it down before it can happen. What probably needs to happen more than anything is a pro fire/burn PR campaign in the greater Kenai Peninsula to educate residents about the benefits and need for fire. That said I am of course wishing all our brethren on the Kenai safety during this wild fire.

                Brett

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                • #9
                  Not to be the devils advocate but I think this will hit bottom and turn it all up.
                  Originally posted by theultrarider View Post
                  If this fire doesnt take a turn, it is a godsend. One could not have scripted a finer prescribed burn that is long over due. Yes. I feel for anyone that has a cabin on the south shore of tustemena lake. I am headed for the caribou hills in the morning to do some work around me buddies cabin in the morning to make sure we dont lose it AGAIN! I dont believe this fire will do moose alot of good like the fire of the 60's did. This one is running g so fast through the beatle kill pushed by high winds. It wont hit the ground. Just the tree tops. But it will sure mitigate any future fires. Had this one started down south, and pushed by south winds, it would bave been devastating rather tha. A non-event.
                  Grab a friend, a rifle and go hunt.

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                  • #10
                    Perhaps if the feds encouraged some careful selective logging of beetle kill on the refuge using tracked vehicles during the winter, we might have a temporary resurgence of the "rough cut" lumber industry like it was a decade ago. Or lots of firewood too. Most of the dead standing timber falls down rotten after a few years creating deadfall mazes and tangled understory just ripe for devastating fires.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sayak View Post
                      Perhaps if the feds encouraged some careful selective logging of beetle kill on the refuge using tracked vehicles during the winter, we might have a temporary resurgence of the "rough cut" lumber industry like it was a decade ago. Or lots of firewood too. Most of the dead standing timber falls down rotten after a few years creating deadfall mazes and tangled understory just ripe for devastating fires.
                      It has to be permissible in their management plan. If it's not included you're "urinating in the wind" asking for it. The only way around that is by having that included in a new management plan when they update it.

                      Brett

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BrettAKSCI View Post
                        It has to be permissible in their management plan. If it's not included you're "urinating in the wind" asking for it. The only way around that is by having that included in a new management plan when they update it.

                        Brett
                        I ain't asking for it. I've already done enough pissin' in the wind with the refuge folks. I was just being rhetorical.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BrettAKSCI View Post
                          I'm not sure that's the case. The federal government as a whole has had a relative come to Jesus on the necessity for fire over the last few decades. Controlled burns are even included in the KNWR management plan. My understanding is that the problem lies more with the public and with the process to get to a burn. The process I believe requires a proposed area and then a public comment period. I believe that's where the wheels have fallen off. There's so much anti-fire sentiment/ignorance that the public largely shoots it down before it can happen. What probably needs to happen more than anything is a pro fire/burn PR campaign in the greater Kenai Peninsula to educate residents about the benefits and need for fire. That said I am of course wishing all our brethren on the Kenai safety during this wild fire.

                          Brett
                          I can assure you from personal experience the problem is the refuge.

                          Now I'm not saying I expect you to take my word for it, but take a walk up resurrection trail and look at what the USFS is doing up there for fire prevention (collection and prescribed burning), then drive 10 minutes west and walk up fuller lake trail. Both federally managed, the process on the refuge is indeed very different between the two agencies however the implementation is skewed fiercely on the refuge.


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sayak View Post
                            I ain't asking for it. I've already done enough pissin' in the wind with the refuge folks. I was just being rhetorical.
                            And I thought I was the only one...


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                            • #15
                              I think this fire is going to burn good through the soil because ever since the first afternoon of the fire there really hasn't been that much wind, so I would imagine its been a good slow moving, deep burning fire. Although it is early for a really good fire, I've heard late June/July fires are most beneficial, but with the mild winter we had and the warm spring I'm thinking that conditions are similar to a late June fire on a normal year.

                              Let's hope and pray Kasilof and Funny River communities stays safe and this fire burns about 80,000 acres of good mineral soil burning. That would be best for people and the moose. Black bears will actually benefit as well. If the 15A area can get a good July burn the moose hunting outlook on the KP should be looking good.

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