Haines Police are reminding residents to fully extinguish campfires after a close call on Chilkat Beach this morning.
Residents Heather Lende and Beth MacCready were walking their dogs on the beach near about 2 Mile Mud Bay Road when they saw smoke. Lende says they found a smoking campfire with a gas can next to it. She moved the gas can away from the area.
“While I was up there doing that I hear Beth going ‘there’s flames, there’s flames!’ Oh no, and I was calling the police to tell them and then I said actually you better get here quick.”
A log had caught fire. Lende ran to her house, which is a few hundred feet away, to retrieve a fire extinguisher. The volunteer fire department arrived soon after and hosed down the area.
“It was a campfire that somebody did not completely extinguish,” says Interim Police Chief Josh Dryden. “And it crept up to one of the logs where they use for sitting and it caught that log on fire.”
Dryden commended the Lendes and MacCready for their quick response. Lende says the wind was blowing towards her house and other homes on the beach.
“If we hadn’t have been there, if we had been walking the other way on the beach, with the South wind this morning and especially in the dense spruce trees and being so close to spruce trees, we could’ve lost our home and my daughter’s pretty quick.”
She says besides educating people about how to fully put out campfires, cutting down some of the thick spruce trees on the state-owned land would help lower risks.
Police Chief Dryden posted pictures and of the campfire on Facebook Thursday, urging beach-goers to be more careful.