FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    

Contact:  Heather Handyside

May 26,  2014

(907) 350-4846

Begich in KPB to Assess Fire Situation, Thank Firefighters 

I’m here in Soldotna to make sure fire fighters and evacuees get all the help and resources they need.”


U.S. Senator Mark Begich traveled to the Kenai Peninsula tonight to determine what federal resources could be brought to bear to help residents threatened by wildfire and for the fire fighters who are battling the blaze.  

Begich received an update at the Kenai Incident Command Center (ICC) this evening on the efforts to contain the Funny River Wildfire that has grown to more than 150,000 acres in recent days and is consuming the efforts of more than 600 fire fightersThe senator will receive a formal briefing from the incident commander tomorrow, May 27, at 1:45 p.m. at the ICC in Skyview High School, 46188 Sterling Hwy, Soldotna. 


“I know many Alaskans, especially the evacuees, are feeling frustrated and exhausted right now and I understand their concerns,” said Begich. “They’ve been watching the fire for days as it has threatened their homes, their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives.  Though this is an incredibly stressful situation I want Alaskans to know that I’m going to make sure we get the resources we need to fight this fire and to recover from the devastation.”


Begich, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) is keeping in close contact with the regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Ken Murphy, who is responsible for deploying additional assets to the fire and whose agency will distribute any disaster funds necessary for recovery efforts.  The HSGAC committee has oversight over FEMA funding and grants programs, including those that fund training, equipment and training for fire fighters.


“Alaskans should feel confident knowing that our fire fighters and hot shot crews are some of the best in the country,” said Begich.  “We are thankful for their help and are keeping them in our prayers as they continue to work in very difficult conditions to save lives and property.”