Updated at 9:35 a.m. on Tuesday
A fire that began Monday on Funny River Road has burned more than seven miles of wildland south to the bank of Tustumena Lake Tuesday, forestry service officials said.
Andy Alexandrou, public information officer for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry, said the fire has consumed more than 3,000 acres.
"40 people are on it now," he said Tuesday morning.
The fire was likely human-caused, though it is unclear exactly how it started, he said.
"It could have been a campfire, or an exhaust system from a recreational vehicle, we don't know," he said.
The fire started near the Hansen Horse Trail, or Funny River Horse Trail, a popular recreation spot for hunters and hikers.
A new fire management team is scheduled to arrive at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, Alexandrou said. They'll take over management of the fire, freeing up local resources to focus on other fires in the area.
Currently the fire is burning more than seven miles long and about a mile wide — a long, narrow line typical of wind-drive fires, Alexandrou said.
Updated at 7:24 a.m. Tuesday
A fire that began near Funny River Road in Soldotna has grown to nearly seven miles long and almost a mile wide, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry's Facebook page. By 11 p.m. Monday the fire had consumed nearly 2,500 acres. Fire crews remained on the fire overnight - it has burned to an area about three miles from Tustumena Lake. ###
Updated at 10:18 p.m. Monday:
A fire near that began near the Funny River Road Horse Trail, or Hansen's Horse Trail, has consumed at least 960 acres of land and is still spreading.
"I'm quite certain it's well over 1,000 now," said Andy Alexandrou, public information officer for the Division of Forestry.
About 70 crew are battling the blaze and another management team will arrive Tuesday morning to take the fire over, Alexandrou said.
The fire is not currently threatening any homes or habitated areas and there have been no evacuations ordered. It is still burning south toward Tustumena Lake, Alexandrou said.
Crews are currently battling an 80-acre blaze near the Funny River Road Horse Trail, located at Mile 7 of Funny River Road, as of Monday evening.
Firefighters from the Kenai area Division of Forestry and the Chena Interagency Hotshot crew are working the fire. Sam Harrel, Division of Forestry spokesperson, said the Gannett Glacier Fire Crew out of Palmer is en route.
The fire, which is moving south toward Tustumena Lake, was reported at 4:15 p.m. Monday.
As of 7:15 p.m., Harrel said no structures are at risk.
Due to the fire’s close proximity to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge water, instead of retardant is being used to fight the fire, Harrel said.
He said at least one helicopter is dumping water on scene. He is uncertain of how many ground units have responded because resources are moving between the Funny River fire and another fire near Tyonek on the west side of Cook Inlet.