Photos: Wildfire crosses Kenai River, narrowly missing neighborhood

Ted Wellman, left, and his brother Tom Wellman maneuver Tom’s boat in a shallow part of the Kenai River 2 miles upstream from their homes in the Kenai Keys neighborhood of Sterling on Monday, May 26, 2014. The Funny River fire crossed the Kenai River and is burning its way towards the Sterling highway. Buy this Image
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A spot fire burns on the north shore of the Kenai River near Torpedo Lake on Monday, May 26, 2014. The Funny River fire crossed the Kenai River at this point overnight and is advancing rapidly.
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A helicopter carries supplies for firefighters working on a fire break line near the Kenai Keys neighborhood of Sterling on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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The forest near Upper Killey River, a tributary of the Kenai River, smolders a day after the Funny River fire burned through the area, jumping the Kenai River. May 26, 2014.
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A stump burns on Monday, May 26, 2014 near the Upper Killey River, a tributary of the Kenai River. The Funny River fire burned through the area overnight. Buy this Image
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Firefighters prepare to create a fire break between the Funny River fire and the Kenai Keys neighborhood of Sterling on Monday, May 26, 2014. The fire jumped the Kenai River overnight, threatening the neighborhood.
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Alaska State Park ranger Jacques Kosto surveys the damage to Wally’s cabin, which was destroyed overnight as the Funny River fire advanced past the Kenai River at the Kenai Keys neighborhood of Sterling. The uninhabited cabin was donated to the state park three years ago, according to Kosto. May 26, 2014
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The remains of Wally’s cabin, which was destroyed overnight as the Funny River fire advanced past the Kenai River at the Kenai Keys neighborhood of Sterling. The uninhabited cabin was donated to the state park three years ago, according to Alaska State Park ranger Jacques Kosto. May 26, 2014
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Blake Geddys at his compound on the south shore of the Kenai River near Kenai Keys, which he and a group of friends managed to save from an onrushing wildfire on Sunday night. May 26, 2014.
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Blake Geddys’ compound, on the south shore of the Kenai River near the Kenai Keys neighborhood, survived an overnight onslaught from the rapidly advancing Funny River fire. Geddys and a group of friends managed to save every structure, while the surrounding forest completely burned. May 26, 2014.
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Kenai Keys residents and a firefighter monitor a flare up across from the Sterling neighborhood on Monday, May 26, 2014. The Funny River fire jumped the Kenai River overnight, narrowly missing the neighborhood.
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With smoke from the Funny River wildfire darkening the sky, a horse grazes in a pasture along Feuding Lane in Sterling on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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Smoke from the Funny River fire darkens the sky east of Soldotna on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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The Funny River fire burns near the western edge of Tustumena Lake on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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The Funny River fire burns between Star Lake and Tustumena Lake on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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Firefighters work along the completed fire line near Kasilof on Monday, May 26, 2014. The dark red streak is fire retardant.
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The Funny River fire burns near Skilak Lake on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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The Funny River fire burns south of the Kenai River in Soldotna on Monday, May 26, 2014. The Funny River neighborhood, which was evacuated on Sunday, is between the fire and the river.
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The Funny River fire burns near homes off of Funny River Road on Monday, May 26, 2014.
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Nathaniel Herz,Loren Holmes

Firefighters anxiously awaited the arrival of rain on the Kenai Peninsula as they worked Monday to contain the edge of a huge wildfire that for the first time crossed to the north side of the Kenai River — a 300-foot-wide natural fire buffer that failed to keep flames in check.

Winds gusting to 25 miles per hour were pushing the massive Funny River Fire, estimated on Monday evening to be just over 176,000 acres, or about 275 square miles, through an uninhabited area north of the Kenai River outside of the community of Sterling, while firefighters patrolled the western boundary of that blaze and tried to create a barrier for an estimated 100 homes and cabins in a nearby waterfront community in case the wind shifts .

Residents of Kenai Keys, which sits on the north shore of the Kenai River near Sterling, said embers started several small fires there on Sunday that were quickly put out, and that a dilapidated cabin across the river burned to the ground. But authorities said late Monday that they were still unaware of any inhabited buildings that have been destroyed by the week-old blaze.

And after several days of dry, windy conditions prime for burning, forecasters were finally predicting a 90 percent chance of rain Tuesday, with showers possible later in the week — a huge relief for the estimated 670 firefighters assigned to the fire by Monday evening.

SEE MORE PHOTOS: Residents evacuated as Funny River fire rapidly grows in size