Alaska is experiencing the second-largest wildfire in the 72-year history of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. A fire ironically named for the Funny River is so flagrant that it is being referred to as “apocalyptic” by some.
Rapid changes in the course of the Funny River fire have resulted in an evacuation advisory alert for 1,300 residents, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The Funny River fire has grown to be half the size of Los Angeles as of Monday. The timing is off as wildfires don’t usually arrive so early in the year.
The fire is located in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, just south of Anchorage. Since it started burning one week ago, approximately 450 firefighters have been working towards keeping the fire, which has grown to cover more than 96,000 acres of land, from spreading into populated areas by throwing “everything at it,” the Daily News notes. Unusually dry weather conditions coupled with a high wind has firefighters doing the tango as they try to contain the unpredictable movement of the flames with help from helicopters dropping retardant from above.
Authorities have reportedly alerted residents in the areas at risk that they should be prepared to leave but have not yet issued an evacuation for two areas projected to be affected by the creeping inferno. Several evacuations over the past few days had luckily yielded no damage to homes. Authorities have said that due to the location of the conflagration, so far it doesn’t pose an imminent threat to people or homes, reports the News.
State and federal officials have issued a rare burn ban for the entire Kenai Peninsula, the News notes. The fire is reportedly only 20% contained.