Though faced with flames from wildfires engulfing the Kenai Peninsula region, the emotional atmosphere in Alaska is one of community support and togetherness. It’s said that every cloud has a silver lining. Leave it to Alaskans to be able to find the silver lining in even the most daunting pyrocumulonimbus cloud.
As smoke from a massive mega-fire in Alaska dims daylight and creates difficult breathing in some areas, updates of what Alaskans in the Kenai Peninsula and surrounding areas have to offer their community infiltrate social media. Offers of food, clothing, dog food, shelter for evacuated pets and livestock, and rooms for boarding evacuees show the nation what the people of Alaska are made of.
The Funny River fire and the fire between Tyonek and Beluga have been burning for a week. The latest report at this time from the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team reports that the Funny River fire alone, the largest of the wildfires in Alaska, has burned more than 176,069 acres, though social media reports from locals in the Kenai Peninsula report more recent updates. The Funny River fire, believed to be started by a human in the Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, is now categorized as a “mega fire,” according to Wildfire Today.
— LadyKenai (@LadyKenai) May 24, 2014
— Toni Reitter (@tonichelleak) May 27, 2014
Terry Bookley, Captain of Central Emergency Services, sent a message out to the community on social media:
“I sit here struggling to find the right words to express how thankful I am for the overwhelming level of support that this community has provided to me, my crew, and the crews that I work with. I don’t think you can realize just how uplifting it is to all of us when we get a thumbs up or when you stop us to say thank you. I want you to know we are truly honored to serve you.”
Molly Blakeley-Poland, of Hooligans Lodge which has been offering free lodging and supplies to evacuated residents, writes:
“The 4 rooms we had all were taken immediately and we are over 130 people and 30 animals now. We have been given loads of food. so much that we packed 3 car loads and took it to Skyview to help with fire fighters. I thought they were set, but turned out they were very thankful for our food donations. Im humbled at the amount of love and compassion our community has given during this time of need.
Hooligans Lodge also offered the use of the lot for trailers or motor-homes in need of a place to park during the evacuation. The Pour House, the adjoining restaurant, has also offered showering facilities, free food and coffee and a sense of community togetherness to those affected by the wildfire in the Kenai Peninsula area. Molly extended the offer on the Facebook Page, “If you need a shower come take one. If you want to just sit and talk to other residents affected by the fire then come do that. We are here to help as much as we can. Bless all of you!!”
Meanwhile, Alaska’s residents are sharing their excitement and hope on social media over the rain that finally arrived, which will help firefighters control the inferno that evacuated over 1000 buildings in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula region. Rain was not expected until the end of the week, but Alaskan residents and emergency teams learned on Sunday that a front bringing rain would be coming through the Kenai Peninsula in the evening on Memorial Day.
Heather Robison writes, “Rainin in anchor point sending it your way squished as many spiders as i can i hate them anyway! Its pouring rain i hope it helps this fire!”
Superstition says to never step on a spider inside, because it will bring on rain. For Alaskan residents though, rain brings greater hope that their homesteads might survive the inferno. As the rains moved through each new mile marker, neighbors updated each other on the weather. The talk of weather is not just small talk though, it may mean the difference between returning home or returning to a homestead in ruins.
Inquisitr broke the news on the national level when the Funny River fire was reported to have burned just over 45,000 acres and is continuing to update that story regularly as updates about the wildfires are made available via social media, Alaskan media sources, and the Alaskan Central Emergency Services sources in the Kenai Peninsula.
Here’s pic of people retreating from Blake Gettys’ cabin Sunday, courtesy Brian Looney. Story: pic.twitter.com/3T8ulytKHR
— Nat Herz (@Nat_Herz) May 27, 2014
[Photo via Megan Schaafsma on Twitter]