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Wildfire threatens Tyonek Posted: May 19, 2014 - 6:48pm | Updated: May 19, 2014 - 7:41pm By DAN BALMER Peninsula Clarion This story was updated with new information at 7:30 p.m. A 5-acre wildfire near the Village of Tyonek has grown to 80-acres as of 7:15 p.m.
The blaze fueled by high winds is currently moving toward the Village of Tyonek, which is located on the west side of Cook Inlet. Multiple fire agencies on scene hoping to slow the fire down. Andy Alexandrou, public information officer with the Division of Forestry, Kenai office, said the fire could potentially reach the village, but some natural breaks and sloughs between the fire and the village help to slow the fire down.
Sam Harrel, information officer with the Division of Forestry said smoke jumpers and two retardant tankers are working the fire, which is being handled by the Mat-Su Division of Forestry. The Midnight Sun Hotshot Crew is also on scene and the Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot Crew out of Palmer is en route, Harrel said.
Ten Nikiski firefighters and eight firefighters from the Beluga volunteer department, along with residents of the village are working on the ground with a bulldozer and two fire engines, according to an email from Nikiksi Fire Chief James Baisden. Harrel said the fire started near the north end of the Tyonek Airport runway with the call reported at about 2:45 p.m. Wind gusts of 25 mph caused the fire to spread and spot over the Chutina River.
The blaze was within about 5 miles of the 200-person village, when it began. It has grown since then, but Harrel was unable to specify by how much at 7:20 p.m. Harrel said the tankers have dropped retardant flames in front of the fire to encourage the fire not to spread. “The winds are strong and affect the direction of the fire,” Harrel said. “The winds are blowing out and the village is being threatened.”
Students from the school in Tyonek were evacuated before school was released around 3 p.m., said Pam Howard, a school nurse who flew to the Kenai Municipal Airport from Tyonek. She said the power went out and shortly after fire crews advised the school to evacuate. “This afternoon we go word there was a fire across the river by the airport,” she said. “It was close to the time I was going to fly back so I was concerned about the smoke; whether I would be able to leave.
I was concerned about the high winds today.” Howard, who said school nurses are assigned only seven days a semester in Tyonek, said this was her fourth trip this year. She said the Tyonek School had scheduled their graduation tonight but she expected it to be cancelled. She said teachers and able-bodied students were asked to help fight the fire.
“The fire is getting close to the subdivision and residents were very concerned and hoping the planes would arrive with water,” she said. “Residents are concerned about some villagers who cannot walk (well). Baisden reminds locals the burn suspension in effect, and no open burning is allowed. The Clarion will have more information as the story develops. Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire grows near Funny River Road Posted: May 19, 2014 - 7:48pm | Updated: May 19, 2014 - 8:23pm By Staff Report Peninsula Clarion Crews are currently battling an 80-acre blaze near the Funny River Road Horse Trail, located at Mile 7 of Funny River Road, as of Monday evening.
Firefighters from the Kenai area Division of Forestry and the Chena Interagency Hotshot crew are working the fire. Sam Harrel, Division of Forestry spokesperson, said the Gannett Glacier Fire Crew out of Palmer is en route. The fire, which is moving south toward Tustumena Lake, was reported at 4:15 p.m. Monday. As of 7:15 p.m., Harrel said no structures are at risk.
Due to the fire’s close proximity to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge water, instead of retardant is being used to fight the fire, Harrel said. He said at least one helicopter is dumping water on scene. He is uncertain of how many ground units have responded because resources are moving between the Funny River fire and another fire near Tyonek on the west side of Cook Inlet.
11pm Update The Funny River Fire currently has a crew of around 70 fire fighters battling a blaze estimated at over 1,000 acres. The Division of Forestry says no structures appear to be threatened. The Village of Tyonek has been evacuated, with roughly 150 residents fleeing their homes. That fire is now believed to be around 200 acres. Most residents are taking shelter in a camp on the beach, though some elders were flown to Anchorage or Kenai.
A pair of large wildfires have blazed through hundreds of acres in Soldotna and Tyonek. As of 10 p.m. tonight, a fire located near Funny River Road near Soldotna had burned more than 900 acres. Alaska Division of Forestry Spokesperson Andy Alexandrou said more than 50 firefighters were on the scene, with more crews on the way to help contain the blaze. Crews were aided by two bulldozers and a pair of helicopters that were dropping water on the fire.
The fire caused a large plume of smoke visible throughout the central Kenai Peninsula area and a layer of haze all the way south to Kachemak Bay.
Alexandrou said that no structures were believed to be damaged by the fire. He said the cause was unknown but firefighters suspected it may have been human-caused, as the area is a popular recreation spot.
At the same time, Alexandrou said a wildfire on the west side of Cook Inlet near the village of Tyonek had burned more than 200 acres tonight, forcing an evacuation of Tyonek. That fire is being handled by the Palmer Forestry office.
Due to dry conditions, warm temperatures and low humidity, the Kenai Peninsula has been under a burn suspension since last week. Fire danger around the entire peninsula is extremely high.
Well, kind of, so far It's perfectly clear, but the wind and that plume do seem to be moving in this general direction. super windy out too, has been all day.
As of 7:45am… The Funny River fire which has been burning since around 4:30pm Monday has now spread to about 2,500 acres. Central Emergency Services crews were sent home last night, with reports of fresh crews flying in from around the state. The fire is 100 percent active and zero percent contained, but local fire fighters said the area was “extreme wilderness,” so there is little danger to residents or structures.
originally posted by: Kratos40
a reply to: GoShredAK
If you guys are having wildfires, then forget moving to Arizona. We can't get out of our mortage,and its only to get hotter.
Not seeing anything this morning, visibility is actually pretty good. I can see Mt. Redoubt in the distance. Mt. McKinley is also out and visible.