A fire burns on the grass at Antler Flats, in the northeast section of Berners Bay. (Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service)

A fire burns on the grass at Antler Flats, in the northeast section of Berners Bay. (Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service)

Forest Service fighting 56-acres wildfire north of Juneau

Firefighters are working to contain a forest fire that has broken out north of Juneau in the Berners Bay area, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire broke out in the Antler Flats area Thursday and has grown to 56 acres, the largest fire near Juneau this year, USFS spokesperson Paul Robbins said. It’s fueled by grass and trees lining the beach, Robbins said. People or structures are not yet under threat from the blaze.

“A majority of the fire right now has been burning in beach grass and beach fringe trees,” Robbins said. “When people picture this fire, they don’t need to picture this dense forest on fire.”

A group of eight firefighters are currently working to identify and put out hot spots, Robbins said. Firefighters are also assessing whether to fight the fire with water dropped from helicopters.

“Three (U.S. Forest Service) firefighters were managing it throughout (Thursday) night and a total of eight firefighters are on it today,” Robbins said. Forest Service firefighters have been sent from Hoonah and Juneau to the fire, which can only be accessed via boat and plane.

Capital City Fire/Rescue has not been asked yet to assist with the fire, CCFR Assistant Chief Ed Quinto told the Empire. The two agencies have an agreement to assist one another when needed, Quinto said, and CCFR was notified of the fire Thursday.

There have been six fires around Juneau so far this year. Prior to the Antler Fire, the largest was a 1.5-acres fire at Lucky Me, south of Juneau, in April. The rest were all around one-tenth of an acre. Those were campfires that had been found burning beyond their ring, Robbins said.

Antler Flats is in the northeast section of Berners Bay at the end of the Antler River.

Forest fires are rare in the Tongass National Forest compared to interior Alaska and the Lower 48, Robbins said, due to its wet climate.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


Antler Flats, in the northeast section of Berners Bay, is the site of a 56-acres fire started Thursday. (Photo courtesy Johanna Vollenweider and Jacek Maselko)

Antler Flats, in the northeast section of Berners Bay, is the site of a 56-acres fire started Thursday. (Photo courtesy Johanna Vollenweider and Jacek Maselko)

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