Two wildfires are raging in Cook Inlet, one on the western shores of the inlet near Tyonek and another on the Kenai Peninsula near the city of Soldotna.
Reports relay that both fires have grown much larger since the fires weere first reported. Estimates made on Monday night showed the Funny River Fire near Soldotna had grown to 2,500 acres by late evening. The Tyonek Fire has grown to approximately 350 acres by nightfall.
The Tyonek Fire was first reported just prior to 3 pm on Monday north of the Chuitna River. The community began moving to the beach then and soon a voluntary evacuation was announced for the community’s 100 residents.
Five firetrucks were brought in from nearby Beluga to assist the two firetrucks in Tyonek. Smokejumpers and HotShot crews along with helicopters dumping retardant also took up the fight.
Air tankers and helicopters are dropping water on the Funny River fire that is burning east of the Soldotna Airport. A number of firefighters are also fighting the blaze that continues to grow. The blaze there has extended all the way to Tustamena Lake to the south of the city.
A thick, acrid haze has permeated the entire peninsula from the twin fires. Communities all the way at the south end of the peninsula woke to the smell of fire and a smoky haze obscuring the landscape.