Firefighters warn of delays on Sterling Highway

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on a wildfire on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Alaska wildfire officials are warning drivers to expect long delays on a 10-mile stretch of the Sterling Highway.

A fire on the Kenai Peninsula has burned more than 50 square miles east of the community of Sterling.

The Alaska Incident Management Team said Tuesday morning that motorists should top off gasoline tanks, carry spare food and take along extra ice if they’re using it to keep fish fresh.

Northwest winds on Monday pushed the fire toward the highway.

Firefighters are hoping for a predicted wind shift that would allow them to ignite strategic burns north of a power transmission line that runs north of the highway corridor.

Homer Electric has powered down the line that connects Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Facility to utilities north of the peninsula.

8 a.m.

Firefighters working to contain a wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula took steps to protect a power transmission line.

The Alaska Incident Management Team reports the fire 5.5 miles northeast of Sterling by Monday was covering more than 50 square miles (129.5 sq. kilometers).

Smoke continued to cause visibility problems on the Sterling Highway, which carries travelers south of Anchorage to popular fishing destinations. The fire was estimated to be 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the highway.

A Homer Electric transmission line is several hundred feet north of the highway corridor. Crews on Monday planned burnout operations to create control lines that could keep the fire from reaching the transmission line.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge closed recreation areas.

Hot and dry weather is predicted for several more days.

AP-WF-06-25-19 1751GMT