67,084 acres with 15% containment. Red Flag Warning in effect.
The fire is 67,084 acres and is still contained within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Good progress was made yesterday with 15% containment achieved with secure line on the north east flank of the fire. There are 374 personnel assigned to fire.
Over 400 people attended public meetings in Kasilof and Funny River last night with the meetings simulcast on a local radio station. Local residents expressed concerns about campfires being allowed in the area over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend with the very dry forest and red flag weather conditions.
As of 4pm, May 22, 2014, the fire was 3.5 miles from the Kasilof River, 3 miles east of the Pollard Subdivision, and 3.5 miles from the Cardwell area and less than 2 miles from the Bear Creek Subdivision on Tustumena Lake. The fire perimeter reaches Funny River Road at mile 7.5 to the north and the shores of Tustumena Lake to the south.
During last night’s operation, structural fire crews from around the state protected Funny River road. Smoke jumpers were dispatched to the water accessible only Bear Creek subdivision as the fire moved within 2 miles of the subdivision.
Today, on the east flank, helicopters with water buckets are assisting crews to protect the Funny River community to the north. The presence of a vegetative fuel break along the northeast boundary of the Refuge has assisted fire crews in protecting the community of Funny River. To the south, an additional fire crew from Oregon is assisting the smokejumpers at Bear Creek subdivision in structure protection activities.
On the west flank, crews are working to extend the containment line down to Cole Lake. Four water scooping aircraft (CL215s) are operating to protect the community of Kasilof. These aircraft are scooping water from Tustumena and Skilak Lakes.
An increase in fire activity is expected this afternoon with southwest winds 6 to 12 MPH gusting to 20 MPH. Vegetation remains extremely dry on the Kenai Peninsula. Residents and visitors are urged to use extreme caution with anything that could ignite a fire.
Weekend visitors to the area and residents are reminded that fire crews, air and ground equipment are working in close proximity to the Sterling Highway and Funny River Road. Do not block roads to view the fire. Pull off only in safe designated pullouts.
Information about current smoke conditions is available from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation at http://dec.alaska.gov/air/am/smoke.htm
Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Services has set up a call line to help homeowners with fire preparedness. Residents can call (907) 714-2495. Information is available at http://www.borough.kenai.ak.us/emergency-mgmt/fire
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