Nearly fifty firefighters at work fighting 121-acre Tustumena Fire

Smoke billows from the 121-acre Tustumena Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula around 11 p.m. Wednesday evening.
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Nearly fifty firefighters are fighting a 121-acre fire on the Kenai Peninsula in the Caribou Hills on the southern side of Tustumena Lake. The fire was discovered Wednesday.

Late Wednesday evening, an airtanker from Palmer dropped five loads of retardant around the perimeter towards the north end which seems to have been successful in containing the fire.

The fire is listed as under a “Critical” management option, but is still about two miles from the nearest logging road, and about four miles from Preachers Trail and the nearest houses. Critical designation means that the fire is threatening human life or property, and that managers try to keep the fire at the smallest possible acreage. No evacuations orders were issued for the nearby properties.

Dozens of lightning strikes swept through the Kenai last night starting several other fires, which the Division of Forestry says are being monitored, but not actively fought. Another fire is burning six miles North of the Tustumena Lake Fire, and a five-acre fire is burning about 5 miles West of Mystery Creek Road north of the Sterling Highway.

Managers were out on more flyovers Thursday to look for any more fires that could have been started by the recent lightning.

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