Swan Lake Fire on Kenai Peninsula now estimated at 3,500 acres

With another warm, dry day on the Kenai Peninsula, the Swan Lake Fire (#181) burning north of the Sterling Highway continued to grow.

The Swan Lake Fire (#181) as seen from a helicopter during a reconnaissance flight early Tuesday evening, June 11, 2019. Alaska Division of Forestry photo

The lightning-caused fire was estimated at 3,500 acres after a reconnaissance flight Tuesday evening, an increase of approximately 1,000 acres from Monday. Most of the new growth was to the northwest and northeast away from the Sterling highway and 5 ½ miles from the community of Sterling. The eastern portion of the fire did receive light precipitation on Monday.

The fire is burning in a Limited protection area within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  Fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry are working collaboratively with refuge personnel to manage the fire to reduce future wildland fire hazards and enhance wildlife habitat. The fire is located in an area where no values are threatened or where the likelihood of fire impact to values has been mitigated. . The fire is currently burning within the footprint of a 1947 fire and the primary fuel is black spruce.

A Type 3 organization assumed command of the fire Monday morning and will be focusing on strategic planning and developing management action points for the fire should it move toward the Sterling Highway. As of late Tuesday, the fire was approximately 3 miles north of the highway at its closest point near milepost 68.

Smoke from the fire is visible from the Sterling Highway between mileposts 65 and 75. Motorists are advised to slow down and use caution driving through the fire area.Fire managers’ primary concern are protection of the community of Sterling, and mitigating smoke and fire impacts to the Sterling highway.

In addition to the Type 3 incident management team, other resources assigned to the fire include two Type 1 helicopters and the Yukon Fire Crew.

 

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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