Card Street Fire forces evacuations in Kenai Keyes subdivision

6:00 p.m. – The second evacuation of the day is underway in the Kenai Keyes subdivision on the Kenai Peninsula due to the Card Street Fire, which is now estimated at 2,000 acres.

The fire, which started yesterday, flared up on the southeast side and is less than a mile east of the subdivision. Firefighters are holding it out of the area but they want to get people out in the event wind associated with thunderstorm cells building to the east produces winds that could fan the flames.

It’s the second time today and the third time in two days that an evacuation order has been issued for the area. An evacuation advisory was issued this morning because northerly winds were pushing the fire toward the subdivision along the Kenai River. Air tankers have been ordered to drop retardant on the encroaching fire and are enroute.

Most of the fire activity on the fire today was on the east side of the fire and the fire has burned into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The fire is burning about 1 1/2 miles from Skilak Loop Road, though it is not threatening anything on that side of the fire. The only structure there is an old U.S. Forest Service guard station that has been closed. Sprinklers have been set up around the guard station to protect it.

The Card Street Fire is a human-caused fire that started around 2 p.m. on Monday south of milepost 77 of the Sterling Highway. The fire started in a remote area near Card Street off Feuding Lane east of the community of Sterling.

Air tankers dropped over 30 loads of fire retardant to on the fire to protect nearby structures dotted throughout the area as the wildfire quickly burned south towards the Kenai River. At least five structures were destroyed in the initial phase of the fire despite an aggressive initial attack by Alaska Division of Forestry firefighters.

Kenai forestry responded to the area with five engines and a helicopter while three local fire departments also responded to the fire to assist with structure protection. Evacuations were ordered for Fueding Lane, Aspen Street and the Kenai Keyes subdivision. The fire grew quickly and spotted across the Kenai River, causing the areas of Dow Island and Salmon run to also be evacuated.

Firefighters positioned themselves along Funny River Road on the south side of the Kenai River to chase spot fires. Smokejumpers worked critical spots, protecting structures along the Kenai River using a boat. A park ranger also patrolled the river in a boat watching for spot fires and protecting structures. Later in the evening, a wind shift moved the fire to the east, pushing it into wetlands, which was a huge assist for firefighters protecting structures.

Firefighters worked through the night on the west flank, laying hose at the tail of the fire along the north end. Engines patrolled the area throughout the night to knock down any hot spots. Two Type 2 teams arrived on the fire Tuesday morning to aid with suppression efforts and more resources are scheduled to arrive on the fire later today, including five Type 1 initial attack crews and a Type 2 management team from Washington state.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Sterling Community Center.

A map showing the evacuation area for the Card Street Fire on the Kenai Peninsula.

A map showing the evacuation area for the Card Street Fire on the Kenai Peninsula.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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