Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  A cloud of smoke obscures the sky on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula as a fire that started near Funny River Road consumed more than 7,000 acres of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge land Tuesday May 20, 2014. The fire stretches nearly 10 miles long and is moving east and west along the bank of Tustumena Lake.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A cloud of smoke obscures the sky on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula as a fire that started near Funny River Road consumed more than 7,000 acres of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge land Tuesday May 20, 2014. The fire stretches nearly 10 miles long and is moving east and west along the bank of Tustumena Lake.

Human remains found by firefighters in Sterling

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Monday, June 2, 2014 11:22pm
  • News

Fire crews working the Funny River Horse Trail wildfire found human remains near Sterling Sunday. Alaska State Troopers said the remains appeared to have been there for several years.

Troopers responded to the scene with assistance from the fire crew’s helicopter at about 6:30 p.m. Investigators photographed and collected the bones, but no identifying items could be located, according to a trooper dispatch Monday.

Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters said the identity and gender of the remains are unknown and troopers are reviewing cases from the Missing Persons Clearing House database to pinpoint a timeline and area.

“Missing persons cases can give us clues to who it was,” Peters said. “It will be hard to determine because the remains are several years old. Hopefully the person was reported missing otherwise we will have a mystery on our hands.”

Troopers notified the State Medical Examiners Office of the discovery, but the remains have not yet arrived at the SME office in Anchorage, said state public health information officer Greg Wilkinson Monday afternoon. He said he could not confirm whether the remains were found within the burned wildfire acreage area.

Michelle Weston, spokesperson for the Alaska Incident Management Team in charge of fire operations for the Funny River Horse Trail wildfire, said the remains were found by fire crews, but would not comment about which team found the remains or the exact location. She said troopers are handling the investigation and cannot release any information at this time.

Currently there are 89 active missing Alaskans, according to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com

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