Funny River Wildfire tops 900 acres

A helicopter drops water on the fire near Soldotna Monday night (Photo by Ariel Van Cleave)

A helicopter drops water on the fire near Soldotna Monday night (Photo by Ariel Van Cleave)

A pair of large wildfires have blazed through hundreds of acres in Soldotna and Tyonek.

As of 10 p.m. Monday, a fire located near Funny River Road near Soldotna had burned more than 900 acres.

Alaska Division of Forestry Spokesperson Andy Alexandrou said more than 50 firefighters were on the scene, with more crews on the way to help contain the blaze. Crews were aided by two bulldozers and a pair of helicopters that were dropping water on the fire.

The fire caused a large plume of smoke visible throughout the central Kenai Peninsula area and a layer of haze all the way south to Kachemak Bay.

Alexandrou said that no structures were believed to be damaged by the fire. He said the cause was unknown but firefighters suspected it may have been human-caused, as the area is a popular recreation spot.

At the same time, Alexandrou said a wildfire on the west side of Cook Inlet near the village of Tyonek had burned more than 200 acres tonight, forcing an evacuation of Tyonek. That fire is being handled by the Palmer Forestry office.

Due to dry conditions, warm temperatures and low humidity, the Kenai Peninsula has been under a burn suspension since last week. Fire danger around the entire peninsula is extremely high.