A photo of the Tustumena Lake Fire taken at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, illustrates the effect retardant and water drops had on the fire. (Photo by Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry)

A photo of the Tustumena Lake Fire taken at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, illustrates the effect retardant and water drops had on the fire. (Photo by Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry)

Wildfires sparked by lightning being ‘closely monitored’

Six fires are active on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge lands

Lightning from two days of thunderstorms last week sparked eight fires on the Kenai Peninsula, with six of them active on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge lands, a Monday press release from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, said.

The Coal Creek Fire is burning northwest of Tustumena Lake and is nearly 14 acres in size. It started burning Friday where the Funny River burn is. The release said the fire is 40% contained with progress being made on the ground.

The Swan Lake Fire moved south on Sunday, growing to 1,746 acres in size, and is being closely monitored. It’s burning near the 2017 East Fork Fire. The East Fork Fire scar, Sterling Fuel Break and natural barriers provide numerous fuel breaks between the fire and local communities and the Sterling Highway, the press release said.

Smoke can be expected and visible from eastern Soldotna, Sterling and possibly the Anchorage hillsides. Use caution when driving on affected roads, especially in the vicinity of Mile 68 and eastward on the Sterling Highway.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is collaborating with the Division of Forestry and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge during the wildfire season to support structural response, evacuation and reentry, communications and public information coordination, according to a Monday press release from the borough.

Residents can find the most updated information at kpboem.com, akfireinfo.com and on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page. The Division of Forestry Public Information Office can be reached at 907-260-4262

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