Alaska Wildfire Burns 250 Square Miles,
1,000 Buildings Evacuated
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[May 27, 2014]
(Reuters) - A spreading Alaskan
wildfire has forced the evacuation of about 1,000 buildings but
firefighters have gained ground by containing about 30 percent of the
wind-driven blaze, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said on Monday.
The Funny River wildfire was burning on about 250 square miles
(650 square km) of forest, most of it inside the Kenai National
Wildlife Refuge in southern Alaska, said Willie Begay, the
The week-old fire has expanded from about 172 square miles (446
square km) on Sunday, when it was one-fifth contained. The number of
people affected by the evacuation of the buildings was not
Almost 600 firefighters are battling the blaze among rolling hills
mostly covered with black spruce, Begay said. The area has been
without rain for more than a month, and steady winds from the
southwest are fueling the flames.
"Once it catches the wind in those areas, it's pretty fast- moving,"
Begay said. He added that rain might come in the next few days,
which would help to put out the fire.
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Warm and dry spring conditions have given the Alaska fire season an
early start. The state Division of Forestry on Friday issued a
statewide ban on outdoor burning.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Barbara Goldberg
and Dan Grebler)
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