Firefighters from the Division of Forestry in Soldotna unload from a helicopter after returning from work on a wildfire near Ninilchik Tuesday afternoon. Other firefighters were scheduled to arrive last night and today to work on the King County Creek fire burning near the southwest corner of Skilak Lake.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The wildfire near Skilak Lake on the Kenai Peninsula has burned more than 2,800 acres of mostly spruce trees and lowland bog vegetation.
Due to a weather forecast calling for continued warm conditions, a decision was made by state forestry officials Tuesday to begin fire suppression activities.
The fire, which was started by a lightning strike Sunday, is basically circular in shape and slowly spreading in a southerly direction, according to a spokesperson for the Alaska Di-vision of Forestry.
Known as the King County Creek Fire, the blaze started approximately 3 1/2 miles south of the Kenai River and three miles east of the Killey River on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Smoke from the fire was heavy in the Funny River Road area Tuesday and created a haze in Sterling neighborhoods.
A public information meeting will be held today at 6 p.m. at refuge headquarters in Soldotna. The meeting will take place in the environmental education building. Signs will be posted.
A Type 2 incident management team, hotshot fire-fighting crews and Type 2 hand crews began assembling in Soldotna to prepare to suppress the blaze.
"At this time, no structures are threatened," said forestry spokesperson Sharon Roesch.
"The closest cabin is about three miles to the east," she said.
Forestry officials also have requested a temporary no-fly zone to be established near the fire area to keep the skies clear for fire-fighting aircraft.
Because humidity levels remain relatively high, Roesch said the forestry division has no plan to institute a burn ban, which would prohibit campfires.
"People should make sure they build their campfires on gravel or dirt, not on the duff," Roesch said.
With the upcoming Fourth of July weekend expected to bring many outdoor recreationists to the Kenai Peninsula, Roesch said people should be reminded that fireworks are not permitted anywhere within the Kenai Peninsula Borough or in any state forests.
Updates on the fire can be heard on the burn permit-fire information line at 260-4269.
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