Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A smoke column from a controlled burn looms over the Kenai River on Wednesday June 24, 2015 as firefighters work on a prescribed burn to keep the Card Street wildfire from burning out of control in the Skilak Loop Area near Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A smoke column from a controlled burn looms over the Kenai River on Wednesday June 24, 2015 as firefighters work on a prescribed burn to keep the Card Street wildfire from burning out of control in the Skilak Loop Area near Sterling, Alaska.

Card Street command team initiates controlled burn

  • By MEGAN PACER and KELLY SULLIVAN
  • Wednesday, June 24, 2015 10:43pm
  • News

Conditions were met on Wednesday for fire crews to initiate a 2,000-acre controlled burn north of Skilak Lake, which is resulting in a large, visible plume of smoke rising from the area.

Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Andy Alexandrou said work started on the burn at approximately 4:15 p.m. Originally, wind was projected to be too strong to start the burn Wednesday, he said.

The “big green spot that hasn’t burned yet,” is near the boat launch on Skilak Lake and stretches down along the Kenai River to the area where the Funny River Horse Trail Fire burned last year, Alexandrou said.

Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Sarah Foster said the area near the boat launch is full of fuels that were not completely burned the first time around, and pose a threat of reigniting if they are not addressed.

The Card Street fire is now estimated to be 7,261 acres. Foster said this new size estimate is due to more accurate mapping techniques. In the early days of the fire, Foster said many of the estimations were made by air and other less precise means.

“They’re actually walking the perimeter with a GPS,” she said. “We’re getting into the science end of it now.”

Foster said the personnel working the Card Street fire has been decreased to 427 members after releasing one hot shot crew. She said more crews will be given up as time goes on, as objectives are re-evaluated daily and resources are determined to be needed elsewhere in the state.

Foster said crews are still working to protect structures within 500 feet of the fire. Efforts to maintain a strong fire line are also continuing. Some internal areas of the fire, however, are simply too hot to put out, she said.

“There are just going to be some pockets of heat that are going to be here until it snows, frankly,” Foster said.

Enstar Natural Gas has restored service to the majority of its customers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Communications Manager Lindsay Hobson said Enstar personnel have visited most full-time residences to restore service in the wake of the Card Street fire.

“We do have some left, but that’s mostly for part-time cabins,” Hobson said. “We need the homeowners to be present when we go to do the relight to conduct the appropriate safety check when we turn the meter on.”

Hobson said Enstar needs to get in contact with those part-time residents, which is why restoring their service might take longer. She said the last appointments for service restoration will trickle in over the next few days.

Residents can set up an appointment with Enstar by calling 262-9335.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com. Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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