Alaska wildfire delays deliveries to peninsula businesses

KENAI, Alaska — A large wildfire burning on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula is preventing delivery trucks from reaching grocery stores and other businesses on time, a report said.

Delays and closures on both sides of the Sterling Highway have caused some deliveries to be stalled for almost 24 hours, The Peninsula Clarion reported Wednesday.

Road closures and smoke have also affected hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses.

The fire is focused about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Anchorage between the communities of Cooper Landing and Sterling, officials said.

Stores owners and employees said the delays have affected deliveries that include items such as bread, eggs, soft drinks, and alcohol.

Country Foods IGA owner Dusty Steinbeck said a delayed Sunday delivery caused the postponement of shelf restocking until Monday night.

Sales at the Save-U-More grocery store in the small city of Homer spiked after news spread of road closures that could interrupt deliveries, said manager Mark Hemstreet.

"We had a really good day Monday. We probably had about 10 to 15% higher sales. Some of it was back to school and some of it was panic buying, I think," Hemstreet said. "We didn't get deliveries and then we sold out. It was like a hurricane."

Kenai Peninsula College officials apologized to students through social media Tuesday for the delay of a delivery truck carrying textbooks.

Land's End Resort general manager Lea Miller said there have been "plusses and minuses" related to the road closures including cancellations and extensions.

"We've seen people who haven't been able to leave and they've extended their stay," Miller said.

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

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