Update: Saturday, June 20, 1:15 pm
Governor Bill Walker issued a state disaster declaration on Friday for the damage resulting from the multiple fires burning on the Kenai Peninsula. The Card Street fire is still considered zero percent contained. Skilak Loop Road and campgrounds remain closed. A community meeting is planned for 2 pm Sunday at the Sterling community center.
Update: Friday, June 19. 4:45 pm
The Card Street Fire near Sterling is still officially tabbed at zero-percent contained, but most evacuation notices have been lifted. The Kenai Peninsula Borough made a local disaster declaration Thursday night to get help with relief efforts. The fire continues to push away from homes and into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Original Post: Friday, June 19. 10:00 am
Smoke clearing in the Card Street Fire near Sterling allowed Alaska Division of Forestry managers to get a better look at the areas burned. As of 11 a.m. Friday, the estimate is 7,578 acres, down from previous reports due to better mapping.
The blaze, sparked Monday, continues to move east into the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The area is uninhabited, but Refuge Fire Management Officer Kristi Bulock says the goal is to stop the fire, nonetheless, to keep it from threatening homes.
“This is an unwanted fire. This fire has the potential, if it crosses the Sterling Highway with the right conditions, it could actually come back in to the north side of Sterling and we absolutely do not want that to happen,” Bulock said. “The goal is to stop the fire. There’s just too much risk to communities.”
Evacuation notices were lifted Thursday in Sterling from the intersection of Feuding Lane and Kenai Keyes north to the Sterling Highway. Evacuation status remains in effects from Kenai Keyes south to the Kenai River.
Homer Electric Association reports that it will leave power off to 169 meters in the area, due to extensive damage during the fire.
The two fires started by lightening Tuesday in the Cooper Landing area saw little growth Thursday. The Juneau Creek Fire is estimates at 100 acres, and Stetson Creek at 400 acres. Crews are working to protect Forest Service cabins near Juneau Lake, and air support continues to limit the growth of both fires.
A Type II management team is taking command those fires Friday, with at least 40 additional firefighters expected.
The Card Street Fire continues to get new support, as well, including from Alaska villages. Hotshot crews from Grayling, Hooper Bay and Chevak arrived Thursday.