Just as thoughts have been turning to fall, Kenai Peninsula residents endured a smoky day Saturday, a reminder that the summer wildfire season isn’t over yet.
Unlike smoke that lowered visibility and irritated respiratory conditions earlier this summer, Saturday’s haze didn’t come from a peninsula fire.
Dianne MacLean, assistant fire manager with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, said a refuge pilot did a reconnaissance flight over the fires that had been active on the peninsula this season, including the Fox Creek Fire at Tustumena Lake and King Country Creek Fire at Skilak Lake.
“He is seeing extremely, just minimal activity,” MacLean said. “Nothing is really active.”
With previous fires ruled out, the question of a new culprit was raised.
“We were a little worried there could be something out there we don’t know about,” she said.
MacLean said Flight Services with the Federal Aviation Administration told them visibility worsened the father west you went Saturday, indicating the smoke was generated across Cook Inlet.
“We anticipate the smoke is coming from fires up in the Interior then coming down the Alaska Range and blowing across the Inlet,” she said.
Visibility lessened as the day went on.
“When I woke up this morning I noticed there was already some smoke in the air, then it’s just been worsening throughout the day,” McLean said Saturday.
By 5 p.m., visibility in Soldotna was down to one-half or three-quarters of a mile, she said. Visibility in Homer also was reported as poor.
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