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A fire in Alaska, the #FunnyRiverFire , will obtain #Megafire status wildfiretoday.com/2014/05/24/ala… #wildfire
On the other, trees and fresh greenery stood untouched under a smoky yellow sky. Late-night evacuation At more than 96,000 acres as of Saturday morning, the Funny River wildfire is now the second-largest in the refuge’s 72-year history, surpassing the 80,000 acres burned in the 1969 Swanson River fire.
The fire’s size is now second only to the Skilak Lake fire, which burned 310,000 acres in 1947. On Saturday, the Alaska Army National Guard sent two Black Hawk helicopters with water buckets and crews to boost firefighting efforts through Monday. Other aerial forces include five helicopters and four Canadian water-scooping air tankers. About 400 personnel are now assigned to the fire.
Approximately 1,300 residents were placed under evacuation watch Saturday morning in the communities of Funny River and eastern Kasilof and in residences along the Sterling Highway corridor. The advisories came as the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the western Kenai Peninsula, calling for strong south-to-southwest winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph along Cook Inlet.
Winds were expected to increase during the afternoon and peak in the evening hours, likely creating more fire activity, officials said. A heightened sense of alert followed the wildfire’s first evacuation order late Friday night. Officials issued the order for about 50 homes between milepost 103 and 105 of the Sterling Highway after suddenly strong gusts kicked up a towering wall of flame on the ridge overlooking the highway. “A HUGE wall of flames out our window now,” Fred Colvin, who lives off Heavy Down Drive near mile 105 of the highway, texted a reporter at 10:46 p.m.
edit on 25-5-2014 by GoShredAK because: Links
Weather for Kenai, AK 47°F | °C Sat Sun Mon Tue Smoke Wind: SW at 22 mph Humidity: 80% 54° 42° 59° 42° 55° 42° 50° 41° Detailed forecast: The Weather Channel - Weather Underground - AccuWeather
Funny River fire now over 100k acres. The scene on the ground is frantic j.mp/1nGY35N @Nat_Herz @adndotcom pic.twitter.com/uNhrkx6DWO lorenholmes @lorenholmes Sun May 25 06:46:33 UTC+0000 2014 3 retweets Soldotna area fire threatens homes on northern edge of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge | Alaska Dispatch Smoke and uncertainty hang in the air on the Kenai Peninsula, where residents and visitors alike are experiencing a holiday weekend clouded — literally — by the second-largest wildfire in the history of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Read more at www.alaskadispatch.com
Alaska: On FireAutoplayONOFF A massive wildfire in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula grew to more than 110,000 acres on Sunday, prompting thousands of evacuations on Sunday and threatening hundreds of cabins, vacation homes and year-round residences.
The wildfire, which was only 20 percent contained by Sunday morning, covered more than 218 square miles. The number of people told to flee their homes isn't clear, said Michelle Weston, spokeswoman with the Alaska Interagency Management Team, which includes the state Division of Forestry and federal and local officials. Weston said the fire recently covered nearly 218 square miles and has grown significantly as it burns in the 1.9 million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, but she didn't immediately have a new estimated size.
The Funny River Fire is named after a nearby road where all residents are being evacuated. Alaska State Troopers are going door to door, evacuating an area that's mostly second homes and is home to many retirees. Weston says no injuries were reported, and it's unclear if any buildings were damaged. Brenda Ahlberg, spokeswoman for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, said a Red Cross shelter was being set up for evacuees.
The Funny River Fire grew rapidly over the weekend, pushed by high winds. Around 450 firefighters, as well as the Alaska Air National Guard and Anchorage Fire Department, are battling the six-day-old blaze from the ground and from the air, Reuters reports.
A crew working on the massive Funny River wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula found unidentified human remains Sunday near the community of Sterling, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
There were no identifying items discovered with the remains, which appeared to be several years old, according to a dispatch from troopers, who flew to the scene in a fire crew helicopter.
The troopers are waiting for information from the state's medical examiner on the age and sex of the remains, said spokeswoman Megan Peters. She declined to provide more information about how the remains were found.
Peters said troopers are reviewing cases in a missing persons database to help with identification.
"We have a lot of unanswered questions. We want to know why this person is there," she said.
"We don't even know if it's a suspicious case or not, because we don't know who the person is," she added.
Reach Nathaniel Herz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4311
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