Update: 3:29 PM AKDT –
Central Emergency Services has temporarily restricted Funny River Road to move fire vehicles and crews working in the area. They need to have unrestricted access to effectively respond. Troopers and other law enforcement agencies continue patrols throughout the area. CERT members will be assisting with patrol.
The evacuation order is still in place. Please remain out of the area until the evacuation has been lifted.
Until incident command lifts the evacuation order, folks are urged to stay out of the area. Persons with critical needs may have an escort arranged through Alaska State Troopers for an in-and-out trip. To make this arrangement, please call the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center at 262-4453. They will put you in direct contact with the area trooper to coordinate the request.
The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Situation Report, issued Memorial Day morning, lists the Funny River Horse Trail fire at 156,041 acres or 244 square miles. Fire managers shifted some crews from the Tyonek fire to Funny River, bringing total personnel on the Funny River fire to 589. Fire managers report having built containment lines around 30 percent of the fire’s perimeter. Suppression costs to date amount to $2.5 million.
On Sunday, strong winds blew embers up to one-half mile ahead of the main fire and caused spot fires across the Kenai River. Crews actively suppressed the spots to prevent establishment of fire in previously unburned areas. Governor Sean Parnell and State Forester Chris Maisch toured the fire. Smokejumpers burned out vegetation around the remote Bear Creek subdivision on the eastern shore of Tustumena Lake. Managers ordered the evacuation of Lower Skilak Lake campground and of all residents along the Funny River Road beyond mile 7.
AICC lists the Kenai Peninsula as having high potential for new fires because of dry to extremely dry fuels and because of a high level of outdoor recreation this holiday weekend. On the Funny River fire, extensive stands of live, black spruce remain highly combustible and contribute to extreme fire behavior. National Weather Service forecasts cooler temperatures and higher humidity for Monday and some rain by Tuesday.
At this time the Funny River Road is still CLOSED until further notice. When AKIMT and AK State Troopers determine that it is safe for residents to return to their homes, OEM will deploy a Rapid Notify message, work with local media and post on the websites to let folks know.
NOTE: OEM is working with the Rapid Notify technical support team and local phone providers to fix the problem. We understand that messaging was not reaching some phone numbers and that there was “overlapping” that included numbers just outside the “triangulated” areas that were designated to receive calls.
REMINDER: PIO Kris Eriksen will be at the Red Cross Shelter at Redoubt Elementary at roughly 10:00 am to provide evacuees with an update on the fire and a status on the evacuation. The time is approximate as we want to be able to provide maps. Redoubt shelter number #317-4518, 486 W. Redoubt Ave.
OEM Hotline for current fire-related information, please call 907-714-2495.