No injuries in homeless camp fire near Midtown Anchorage

No injuries in homeless camp fire near Midtown Anchorage
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 7:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A plume of dark smoke rising from a wooded area in the Chester Creek greenbelt stood in stark contrast to the mostly clear skies over Anchorage on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Anchorage Fire Department, seven units responded to a fire in the woods by the Anchorage Football Stadium near Midtown just after 4 p.m.

Fire officials said the “medium-sized” fire was brought under control within the first 10 minutes of arriving on the scene and that there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

AFD Capt. Josh Novinska said flames rose around 30-40 feet in the air as four or five tents burned down.

“They’re more and more prevalent and as we approach this time of year and stuff gets drier we have the possibility of spread throughout the forest,” Novinska said. “There’s a lot of encampments throughout this greenbelt that we come to quite often.”

Novinska added it’s common for fires to originate as campfires that spread to adjacent structures in the camps.

The fire department reported recently homeless camp fires have been on the rise in the past year, with the department receiving five or more calls for service at camps daily.

AFD Assistant Fire Chief Alex Boyd said the majority of fires have been small and isolated, but that it doesn’t rule out the possibility one could get out of control due to flammable objects like tents and sleeping bags.