Droughts in Kenai fueling wildfires

Several fires burning on the peninsula have prompted Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce to declare a disaster emergency.
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KENAI, Alaska (KTVF) Several fires burning on the peninsula have prompted Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce to declare a disaster emergency. Severe drought conditions in the area have brought about an increase in wildfire activity, according to a statement Borough Mayor Pierce sent to the Governor.

The declaration quoted that, "the severity and magnitude of these fires is beyond the authority and capacity of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, a second class borough of the State of Alaska, to provide effective response."

National Weather Service statistics show that Kenai received 1.51 inches (3.84 centimeters) of rainfall between June 1 and Aug. 12, a nearly 40% decrease from the average 3.88 inches (9.86 centimeters) of rainfall for the area.

Kodiak Island is also experiencing a drought. Kodiak officials issued a statement Monday asking residents to take steps to help avoid a water supply shortage, saying, "After unusually hot weather and in preparation of a potentially dry fall, the City of Kodiak is asking customers for a voluntary reduction of water usage."

The dry weather has created a dangerous situation with its surrounding wildland fire as three have sprung up in the area around Sterling, Anchor Point and Homers East End Road.

The declaration requests Gov. Mike Dunleavy to declare a disaster emergency, which would allow Kenai to ask for assistance and make resources available for the ongoing fire response.

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