Shanta Creek fire control returns to peninsula crews

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

National fire managers are expected to turn over command of the Shanta Creek fire to Kenai Peninsula fire officials today.

The fire, burning on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge south of Funny River Road, has been mapped by fire managers at 13,221 acres and continues to burn mostly beetle-kill spruce trees.

With rain the past two days, little or no fire spread has occurred or is predicted, according to officials with the National Incident Management Organization.

NIMO will be transferring management of the fire back to refuge and Alaska Division of Forestry firefighters.

In a printed statement, officials said, beginning this morning, a Type 3 Incident Management Team, two Alaska Type 2 crews, two helicopters, an excavator and an assortment of support personnel were to take over management of the fire, monitoring the fire area and completing fire-line rehabilitation work.

Other firefighters continued to demobilize, returning to their home units.

The 155 personnel remaining will continue to complete rehabilitation work on defensive lines built to prevent the fire from moving north toward the community of Funny River.

A temporary flight restriction that had been in place within 5 miles of the fire perimeter has been lifted, allowing local air traffic to resume normal flying schedules.

A fire information center, which had been open at Skyview High School, is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. today. To obtain information on the fire after today, people may call the Division of Forestry in Soldotna at 260-4262 or the refuge headquarters at 262-7021. Information is also available through a Shanta Creek Fire link on the refuge Web site at http://kenai.fws.gov.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is continuing to operate a slash disposal site for Funny River Road area residents for disposal of wood slash and woody debris. Residents need to check in with the Funny River Central Emergency Services fire station at Mile 17, Funny River Road. The disposal site, in an old quarry across from the fire station, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

To obtain information on the Shantatalik Creek fire after today, people may call the Division of Forestry in Soldotna at 260-4262 or Kenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarters at 262-7021. Information is also available through a Shanta Creek Fire link on the refuge Web site at http://kenai.fws.gov.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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