Wildfire grows to 179 square kilometres on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

The Associated Press
May 21, 2014 10:30 PM

The Funny River Fire on the Kenai Peninsula grew to consume more than 20,000 acres of the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Refuge land Wednesday, May 21, 2014 near Soldotna, Alaska. Firefighters estimate that more than 20,000 acres have been burned in the blaze. (AP Photo/Peninsula Clarion, Rashah McChesney)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An Alaska Forestry Division spokeswoman says a fire in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has burned across 179 square kilometres.

While smoke is thick around Soldotna and Kasilof, fire officials say there's no known damage to structures.

Spokeswoman Michelle Weston says the Funny River wildfire has grown from an estimated 8,000 hectares Tuesday night to more than 18,000 hectares Wednesday.

Some of that change has to do with the difficulty of mapping the smoky fire. The human-caused blaze started Monday.

Another fire spokesman, Pete Buist says a fire across Cook Inlet near Tyonek consumed a cabin and two outbuildings but so far has been kept away from the Beluga power station, which burns natural gas and provides power to Anchorage.

In interior Alaska, firefighters are protecting buildings from a fire east of the Dalton Highway where it crosses the Yukon River.

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