Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeThe 907The water is fine, and all is well at Chena Hot Springs...

The water is fine, and all is well at Chena Hot Springs Resort, as fire danger fizzles

Bernie Karl, owner of Chena Hot Springs Resort, didn’t evacuate. Most of his guests didn’t leave, either. And although he lost 1,500 acres of his property to wildfire around the resort, the world-famous destination establishment is safe. The horses are safe. The dogs are happy. Karl says in future years, the morels will be in plentiful supply in the burned out acres.

The Munson Creek Fire came as close as 300 feet of the resort at one point, but Karl was ready with his own fire trucks, water tanks, and earth-moving equipment.

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Read: Fire rages near Chena Hot Springs Resort, but owner is staying put

“I’m so thankful that everything worked out the way it did. I’m a strong believer that you should not wait on government to help. You’d better be proactive,” he said. All the investment he has made over the years in equipment and metal roofs were for times like these.

According to the Division of Forestry, the “Go” evacuation level in place for Chena Hot Springs Resort and residences along Chena Hot Springs Road from Mile 48 to Mile 56.5 for the past week has been reduced to a “Set.”

The “Set” evacuation level means people can remain but should be prepared to leave their home immediately. Few people evacuated the resort or any of the residences along the road during the fire and both the resort and road remained open but the reduced evacuation level is a sign that the fire no longer poses a major threat, the Division reported.

Photo: Chena Hot Springs Resort owner Bernie Karl discusses the Munson Creek Fire with Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. You don’t f**k with Bernie Karl. Division of Forestry finally figured this out. Even the wildland fire figured this out.

    • LOL. Bernie could reverse the flames with a mouthful of his famous cusswords. And he knows a few?

  2. “And although he lost 1,500 acres of his property to wildfire around the resort”.

    No acres of land were lost, no habitat was lost.

    The habitat renewed by fire as had happened many times for thousands of years.
    With the new willow groves, the area becomes primary moose habitat for decades.

  3. “…You should not wait on Government to help.” True words of wisdom there and this is a great story illustrating that. So many these days just want to lay on the couch and hold their hand out for the government. Say we have a bad virus, many want a shot or a pill to make themselves better when proper diet, exercise, and vitamin supplements will serve you just fine (I’m living proof).

  4. The picture shows the courage level of the 2 is in reverse proportion to their height. Courage won’t rub off Dunleavy, skip the junket and photo opp and get to work.

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