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Chicago-size Wildfire Burning in Alaska

Parts of the Kenai Peninsula have been evacuated.

by: Abbey Dufoe

image: NASA
image: NASA

A Chicago-size wildfire in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula expanded to 243 square miles over the holiday weekend, prompting the evacuation of more than 1,000 structures.

The Funny River Fire, named for a nearby road, began on May 19 and is just 30 percent contained as Monday evening.  State troopers are going door-to-door asking residents to leave homes and belongings that may be harm's way.

Michelle Weston, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Interagency Incident Management team, told the Associated Press that high winds and dry conditions are contributing to the fire.  Although it is not unusual to see early-season wildfires, the size and speed of the Funny River Fire are both above average.

Nearly 600 firefighters—many of whom flew in from Montana, Oregon, and Canada—are assisting with containment efforts.  The cause of the fire is still unknown, but officials suspect human action and an investigation is pending.

Read more: Associated Press / ABC News



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