Kenai Peninsula Borough declares disaster emergency
Mayor Charlie Pierce has declared a local disaster emergency for the Kenai Peninsula Borough due to multiple wildfires and high fire danger throughout the borough and outside of its cities.
The fires listed in the declaration include the Swan Lake Fire, North Fork Fire and Caribou Lake Fire. The declaration states the borough has already expended significant resources attempting to protect public safety, and it is unable to provide effective response to the fires.
The Swan Lake Fire, aside from being a threat to life and property, has caused significant delays and closures along the Sterling Highway — "a vital transportation link from Anchorage to the communities of the western Kenai Peninsula."
The declaration states that recreational areas in Cooper Landing have been "seriously affected by heavy smoke" causing the community to suffer through disruptions in transportation, tourism and businesses.
The North Fork Fire, according to the declaration, also poses a threat to property and life with several communities near the fire being told to be ready to evacuate.
The declaration states that the Caribou Fire grew quickly, "at times threatening severe damage to recreational structures in the area."
The declaration calls for Gov. Mike Dunleavy to declare a disaster emergency that will allow the borough to get state assistance and help for property owners affected by the fires.
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