The National Wildfire Coordinating Group reports the Funny River Fire at 96,584 acres or about 151 square miles as of 5:00 pm on Friday May 23. Costs to fight the fire amount to $240,000 daily. Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reports 409 personnel assigned to the fire as of Saturday morning.
The Funny River Fire started May 19. As of Friday evening, the fire had reached the Killey River on the east and the northern part of Tustumena Lake on the south. To the west, the fire had crept to within a few miles of the Sterling Highway between miles 103 and 105. To the north, the fire has remained several miles south of the Kenai River. To date, the fire has not destroyed property, although fire managers report over 2,000 structures threatened. Late Friday evening and early Saturday morning, Kenai Peninsula Borough issued an evacuation order for the Pollard Loop Subdivision along the Sterling Highway, but lifted the order sometime later.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry has suppression responsibility for the fire. US Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service manages most of the affected acreage. Alaska Division of Forestry, Kenai-Kodiak Area reports 55 fires so far this year with nine still active as of Saturday morning.
National Weather Service does not predict rain in the fire area for Memorial Day weekend. Wind velocities measured on the fire have reached 20 knots. Relative humidity drops to 20 to 25 percent in the afternoons. In Alaska, humidity this low and wind this high lead to extreme fire behavior.
As of 7:00 pm on Saturday May 24, the unmistakable yellow-brown haze of wildfire smoke cast a high pall over Moose Pass.