Card Street fire moves into rehabilitation phase

Crews working on the Card Street fire moved into a new stage of firefighting over the weekend.

Public Information Officer Sarah Foster said the fire is still 40 percent contained and 8,876 acres in size.

Foster, with the incident command team, said this addition is due to the controlled burn performed Wednesday near Skilak Lake.

“It’s raining out on the fire right now,” Foster said. “We’ll start moving into the rehabilitation stage.”

Starting on Saturday, she said crews began to clean up extra firefighting materials and work to get the area up to “turn back standards.” This means cleaning up the fire lines and working to make the area look as natural as possible, especially with in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

All hotshot crews have been released, Foster said, bringing the total number of personnel working the Card Street fire down to about 350.

Foster said crews are continuing to search out hot spots near structures using infrared technology. The hot spots can be formed by stumps or other fuel material underground still burning.

“It’s that combination,” Foster said. “It’s similar to putting out a campfire … digging it out, putting dirt on it. There’s a lot of woody debris out there … and those will keep burning for a while.”

There have been no injuries reported since one case of heat illness and a firefighter needing stitches in his finger during the early days of the fire, Foster said.

Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Fire Prevention Order for all National Wildlife Refuges in the state, according to a press release. The order prohibits all open fires, including those in fire rings, as well as fireworks. The use of gas grills and camp stoves is still permitted.

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