Five Hot Shot crews are expected in Kenai tonight to assist with the Card Street Fire in Sterling.
Division of Forestry spokesperson Terry Anderson says the fire slowed down a bit in the early morning hours after rapidly growing to more than 1,200 acres. To the south and east, the fire is burning into territory that was burned during last year’s Funny River Fire.
“Our concerns are yes, there’s less available fuels, but there’s (other) issues,” Anderson said. “The ground is no longer frozen and so there’s re-burn potential and deep burning potential. In Alaska, we have fuels that are sometimes a foot thick in the tundra. Those are long-term fire care issues that we have to be aware of.”
Anderson says the forecast calls for lightning. That could cause the winds to become very erratic in the area.
“The national lightening forecast for dry lightening, which firefighters always go over in the morning, is a forecast from 1-6,” Anderson said. “Usually in Alaska you may see twos or threes or fours for a lightening forecast. The forecast for the Kenai is a six today. That’s about as high as it gets.”
Evacuation efforts are still underway in the subdivisions from Card Street east to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge boundary mile 76 of the Sterling Highway, south to the Kenai River. This still includes Feuding Lane and Kenai Keyes.
The Sterling Highway is still open as of 10:30 a.m., but officials are asking people to avoid the area if possible.
Maps of the fire are still being drawn up at this time.