- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

KENAI, Alaska (AP) - A Funny River wildfire hotspot is out after firefighters doused it with 50 gallons of water over the weekend.

Forestry Fire Management Officer Howie Kent said mushroom hunters reported the heat and smoke coming from beneath a layer of peat moss near Aurora Lake on Sunday, the Peninsula Clarion reported (https://bit.ly/1cN3zEb).

With the light winter, Kent said he’d anticipated earlier reports of holdover fires from last year’s Funny River wildfire.

“It’ll hold heat for a long time and with the light winter that we had, it’s not really surprising,” he said “I kind of anticipated that we were going to have earlier reports of holdover fires out there.”

The Funny River blaze covered 300 square miles on the Kenai Peninsula, and was mostly put out by more than 700 firefighters and heavy rains in June 2014.

Kent says firefighters are keeping an eye on the perimeter of the burn area where it touches the communities of Funny River, Soldotna and Kasilof where risk is highest for smoldering holdovers.

“All of the areas where it adjoins or is adjacent to communities at risk, Funny River, Soldotna and Kasilof,” Kent said.

Kent said one obvious sign of a hotspot is smoke, but white or grey ash is also an indicator.

“Usually after rain comes, it turns that grey ash to black and puts the fire out on the surface. Usually white ash will kind of be showing itself on the surface if there’s any heat,” he said.

People are asked to report hotspots to police or the Soldotna forestry office.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, https://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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