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Photos: Residents evacuated as Funny River fire rapidly grows in size

ohn Hohl walks the fire line near his home on Sunday morning, May 25, 2014. He and his brother were putting out hot spots.
Loren Holmes photo
A hot spot flares up along the edge of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Browns Lake on Sunday morning, May 25, 2014. The Funny River fire was temporarily stopped here overnight, but changing conditions prompted officials to issue an evacuation order for neighborhoods directly across the line.
Loren Holmes photo
Central Emergency Services firefighters put out hot spots along the edge of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Browns Lake on Sunday morning, May 25, 2014. The Funny River fire was temporarily stopped here overnight, but changing conditions prompted officials to issue an evacuation order for neighborhoods directly across the line.
Loren Holmes photo
Central Emergency Services firefighters walk the fire line along the edge of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Browns Lake on Sunday morning, May 25, 2014.
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Central Emergency Services firefighter Sarah Smith informs residents Mike Foust and Danna Moisii of the current Funny River fire conditions from a lookout point at the end of Alaska View Lane in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014. In the distance, a hot spot flares up from the still very active fire.
Loren Holmes photo
The Funny River fire burns near the northern edge of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Browns Lake on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
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Central Emergency Services firefighter Sarah Smith informs Funny River residents Pete Chaussee, left, Angela Rhodes, and Dan Smith of the current Funny River fire conditions from a lookout point at the end of Alaska View Lane in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
Loren Holmes photo
The Funny River fire burns near the northern edge of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Browns Lake on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
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Central Emergency Services firefighters monitor hot spots that had crossed the fire line near Alaska View Lane in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014. The area was evacuated later that day.
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An Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter dumps water on the Funny River fire on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
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Members of the Houston, Alaska fire department stage their personnel and equipment in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014. The area was later evacuated.
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From left, Arianna Moonin, 11, Tristan Moonin, 8, Kammy Highlands-Vatshelle, 9, Elias Moonin, 12, and Tatiana Moonin, 9 play on a trampoline in the Funny River neighborhood while a forest fire burns behind them on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Their neighborhood was evacuated an hour later.
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A helicopter drops water on a hot spot near the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
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An Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter gathers water from Aurora Lake to dump on the Funny River fire, burning nearby on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
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Driver Mike Morris monitors a ridge beyond a group of firefighters working on a fire line near Aurora Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Morris is looking for any sign of the fire encroaching on the firefighters.
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An Alaska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter prepares to gather water from Aurora Lake to dump on the Funny River fire, burning nearby on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Behind the helicopter is a pyrocumulonimbus cloud, created by fire activity on the north east edge of the fire.
Loren Holmes photo
A river boat stands offshore in front of the fire line on the south side of the Kenai River at 2:03 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2014, across from Kenai Keys.
Brian Looney photo
Fire reaches the south side of the Kenai River, just across from the Kenai Keys Subdivision, at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014.
Brian Looney photo
Boats and equipment are ferried away from a cabin and away from the approaching fire on the south side of the Kenai River at 1:54 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2014, near Kenai Keys.
Brian Looney photo
An airplane prepares to drop retardant on a fire burning on the edge of Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014.
Loren Holmes photo
A fire burns on the edge of Lake Road in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014.
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Chris Lucas watches a fire burn near his home off of Lake Road in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014.
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John Hohl, left, rushes to clear spruce from his home near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014. With him is his brother Levi Hohl, in red, and friend Sam Werner.
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Dan Desmarais, left, helps his neighbor John Hohl water his home and yard in advance of the nearby Funny River fire on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014. Hohl’s home is near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna.
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A firefighter warns Sam Werner, left, and Levi Hohl of a fire that jumped a fire line a half mile from where they were working to try to secure Levi Hohl’s brother’s property near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014. They were evacuated shortly afterwards.
Loren Holmes photo
John Hohl, right, is exhausted and frustrated after being evacuated from his home near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014. From a neighbor’s home, he watched the fire burn less than a half mile from his home.
Loren Holmes photo
Sam Werner rests in Dan Desmarais’ yard after working furiously to clear trees from his friend John Hohl’s nearby property near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014. Werner and others were told to evacuate as the fire jumped a fire line less than a half mile from Hohl’s home.
Loren Holmes photo
Helicopters drop water on the Funny River fire near Browns Lake on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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An airplane drops retardant on a fire line near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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A fire flares up south of Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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Dan Desmarais, left, and Steve Schumacher watch the Funny River fire from Desmarais’ deck on Browns Lake on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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From left, Levi Hohl, Steve Schumacher, John Hohl and Dan Desmarais watch fire activity from Desmarais’ deck on Browns Lake on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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An ember burns in the northern portion of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The area, along a fire line south of Browns Lake, had burned three hours before.
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Firefighters douse hot spots along a fire line near Browns Lake on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
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Sam Werner, left, and Levi Hohl put out hot spots along a fire line near Hohl’s brother’s home near Browns Lake in the Funny River neighborhood of Soldotna on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The Funny River fire had burned up to the line three hours before.
Loren Holmes photo
Sam Werner walks a fire line near Browns Lake, looking for hot spots, on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The Funny River fire had burned up to the line three hours before.
Loren Holmes photo
A bulldozer clears a fire line on Saturday, May 24, 2014, protecting the Funny River neighborhood from a wildfire that has topped 100 thousand acres in size.
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A pyrocumulonimbus cloud forms above the northern flank of the Funny River fire on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
Loren Holmes photo
Nathaniel Herz,Loren Holmes

On Moose Ridge Avenue, just to the south of Browns Lake, John Hohl spent Saturday afternoon working frantically, clearing small trees away from the cabin where he and his wife live, a home they’ve built over the last eight years. He said he’d worked almost straight through the last four days, sleeping no more than eight hours total.

A friend, Sam Werner, felled spruce after spruce with a chainsaw as Hohl and his brother Levi tossed them into a pickup truck, unloading a few dozen yards down the dirt road that runs past the house.

A neighbor with his own pickup, Dan Desmarais, hauled a tank back and forth from his home on nearby Browns Lake, spraying water atop Hohl’s cabin and the surrounding land.

Meanwhile, huge plumes of smoke were shooting up half a mile away, where the fire was burning up to a line firefighters had cleared and sprayed with retardant -- with no guarantee the line would hold.

“We’re going to clear until they tell us we can’t be here,” Hohl said.

Read more: Emotions run high for Kenai Peninsula residents living under wildfire's cloud