Hoping for helpful rain

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 kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com

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