Unalaska's Fire Department Rules Fire Past Morris Cove An Accident

Apr 18, 2020

Fire personnel were notified around 4:30 p.m. on Friday that a fire was burning in a steep ravine past Morris Cove.
Credit Hope McKenney/KUCB

Unalaska's fire department ruled Friday's large brush fire past Morris Cove an accident. 

The fire was started around 4:30 p.m. on Split Top Mountain by two kayakers. According to Patrick Shipp, fire chief at the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, they were kayaking in the area when the wind picked up and they went to shore. 

"So they got a little wet and a little cold, and started a fire on the beach," said Shipp. "The wind being what it was, the fire kind of got away from them and went up the side of the hill."

 

Split Top Mountain fire at around 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
Credit KUCB Contributor

The kayakers reported the fire to the department and continued to attempt to put the fire out on their own. 

Upon arrival, crews determined the fire — which was burning in a deep ravine — was inaccessible to fire personnel.

"Because of the terrain, it was inaccessible for fire trucks to make it there," said Shipp. "We checked on the weather, checked on the wind, and figured with the terrain and topography, and the [forecasted] weather, it would probably burn itself out."

 

Rainfall overnight extinguished the fire. However, Shipp said as of Saturday afternoon there were still a number of hot spots on the hill. 

"Right now, it looks cool and it's not smoking out there," said Shipp. "That's not to say it won't pop back up. But if it does we will respond and act accordingly."

Split Top Mountain fire at around 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
Credit KUCB Contributor