July 21, 2011 |

Unattended campfires result in department response

 

The Haines Volunteer Fire Department in the past week responded to two calls for fires in the woods near Fourth Avenue.

“If you’re having a campfire, you need to have a good base where it’s not into the organic layer, because even though you put the fire out, it spreads underneath the ground,” said fireman Al Badgley.

He said both incidents resulted from campfires left unattended.

“Since there’s no gravel in there, wherever you build a fire in there, it’s going to spread under the ground,” Badgley said. “When you start burning underneath the tree layer, you’re going to have organics there, because all the leaves and stuff have been falling for years, and that’s what’s causing the potential fire to spread underground.”

He said the larger fire was July 13, when “the whole area was about 20 feet, but the whole 20-foot area wasn’t burning.”

 

“You’ve got four or five areas that are a bunch of little fires, but they’re going under the ground and popping up,” Badgley said. “The thing is, then you’ve got to kind of dig the whole ground up to make sure that the fire’s not going to go somewhere else.”

The department responded to another campfire on July 16.

“We thought it was the same fire, re-ignited, but it was a different area, where someone else had been building a fire,” Badgley said. “It was even smaller; it was only about a four-foot area.”

 

He said that small fire still drew a large response from the department.

 

“Since we didn’t know how big it was, we sent out about 10 people,” Badgley said.