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Hoping for helpful rain

Posted: May 26, 2014 - 10:25pm

As of Monday evening the Funny River Road wildfire was mapped at 176,069 acres or about 275 miles with 30 percent containment.

The wind was pushing the fire in a northeast direction Monday. The National Weather Service calls for rain early Tuesday morning with a chance of showers through Friday.

“It did look like there might be more than just (Tuesday) for rain and if that happens, which we hope it does, then we might be getting some good progress,” said Michelle Weston, public information officer with the Interagency Incident Management Team.

Sunday afternoon, the fire spotted across the Kenai River into the Kenai Keys area. Central Emergency Services and the Soldotna-based Division of Forestry responded to a roof fire of a trailer house and two cabin deck fires.

The fire crossed the Kenai River Sunday in the Torpedo Lake area, about five miles below the Skilak Lake outlet.

At a 1:30 p.m. Monday media briefing at the incident command center at Skyview High School, Weston said crews Monday were evaluating hard-to-access areas to determine if any structures were harmed during fire activity Sunday night.

She said the focus for Monday was to keep the fire on the northern side of the Kenai River in the Torpedo Lake area under control.

About 250 of the fire’s 670 personnel were focused in that area Monday.

Another area of focus was holding the fire at the fuel break to keep the blaze from entering the Funny River Road community.

Crews are making process finishing the containment line of the southwest section of the fire, Weston said.

Funny River Road residents from Mile 7 to Fisherman’s Road evacuated the area Sunday afternoon.

Kris Eriksen, public information officer with the National Incident Management Organization, said at a public meeting at Redoubt Elementary School Monday night that evacuees will be notified by 9 a.m. Tuesday whether or not they can return to their homes.

Residents are urged not to return to their homes for anything unless necessary. If people need to get to their house, they will need to be escorted by Alaska State Troopers. Law enforcement is patrolling the area ensuring unauthorized people stay out of the neighborhood and homes are not broken into.

Officials also evacuated and closed the Lower Skilak Lake Campground.

The Kenai Keys area is under an evacuation advisory, which means residents should prepare to evacuate.

No injuries have been reported during the week-long fire.

Two community meetings are scheduled for Tuesday. The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team will update the public at Tustumena Elementary School at 6 p.m. and Soldotna High School at 8 p.m.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

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BigRedDog 05/28/14 - 05:47 am
An example of mismanagement

Thanks to the firefighter crews and for all the cooperation to pull of a SAVE like we just witnessed. We have been over a lot of this ground before, and a lot of it has fell prey to the flames several times. Looks like the spot out by Brown's Lake where I shot my first moose in 1968 has burned again. It was just starting to grow back then from the 1947 fire. Looks like we have a pattern of repetition, I wonder how many times it's burned? Each time we watch has hundreds of thousands even millions of board feet of lumber go up in smoke.
Somehow the theory that we can preserve our forest forever for future generations has prevailed even in the face of this tragedy. Being early in the fire season I wonder how much more we will lose this year. How long will it take before someone realizes our national resources are being wasted by fouled policy. When will this be called the mismanagement of our resources that it really IS!
Who pulled the fairytale wool right over our eyes by instituting the Roadless Policy that wastes our forest every year? If we couldn't have transported all those dozers and other equipment used to make that fire break south of the Funny River Road it would be a totally different story. It's like somebody has the power to say why don't we lock up all this land and watch it burn later? What would the Gov. say if someone handed them a ticket and billed them for the Carbon Tax they just wasted. If industry put out that much CO2 how much would it cost. Instead it's just costing us all and heaped onto that is the cost fighting the fire once it starts. Yes firefighting is a job, but the timber industry keeps people working for years not just a one and done.
When will some political leader have the backbone to stand up and ask if anyone else thinks the roadless policy is a bad idea?

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