Swan Lake Fire: More Crews Arrive & Sterling Community Meeting 6pm Tonight

Additional Type 1 and Type 2 crews are bolstering efforts to establish control lines on the eastern edge of the Swan Lake Fire.
Additional Type 1 and Type 2 crews are bolstering efforts to establish control lines on the eastern edge of the Swan Lake Fire.

The Alaska Incident Management Team is hosting a community meeting tonight at the Sterling Community Center at 6pm. Incident command staff will be discussing the current fire situation and the anticipated fire movement and behavior over the next several days. The eastern flank of the fire east of Mystery Creek Road continued to move east in a long narrow finger and is now approximately 4 miles from the Sterling Highway. The Incident Command staff will share the strategies and tactics being used to protect critical infrastructure throughout the community. All interested residents are welcome to attend and ask questions about this incident and efforts being made to protect the community and critical infrastructure.

Heavy fog and smoke caused delays on the Sterling Highway on June 21.
Heavy fog and smoke caused temporary closures and delays on the Sterling Highway on June 21. Motorists are urged to drive cautiously.

During the early morning hours today the Sterling Highway was impacted by heavy fog from the marine layer and heavy thick smoke from the black spruce stand burning east of Mystery Creek Road. Law Enforcement temporarily closed the highway between mileposts 63-70 after a minor vehicle accident and utilized pilot cars as soon as the road conditions improved. Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to be patient and drive cautiously while traversing the Sterling Highway.

Warmer temperatures and changing wind directions tested recent burn operations in the southwestern flank yesterday, with the control line holding. The hard work by the hand crews in the southwest corner of the fire perimeter has significantly diminished the threat to the community of Sterling.

The Yukon Fire Crew is one of the four Alaskan fire crews who have protected the community of Sterling by firing and securing the southwest corner of the fire.

Crews are working to establish and connect fire lines in the Mystery Creek Road area as the fire continues to burn through the thick black spruce stands in a southeasterly direction. Hotshot crews from the Lower 48 are working today to aggressively establish control lines with the highest probability of success.

An air quality advisory has been issued until Monday, June 24 for southcentral Alaska for smoke conditions related to current fire operations. The Department of Environmental Conservation advises people with respiratory or heart disease problems to avoid smoke impacted areas.

Map of the Swan Lake Fire for June 21 2019.

Firefighters and fire prevention specialists continue to visit Sterling community neighborhoods to assess properties and provide information on the Ready, Set, Go! program that encourages residents to be fully prepared. More information can be found at Firewise.orgAlaska.gov/fire/firewise or Wildland Fire – Ready Set Go!

SAFETY: Motorists are urged to yield to fire apparatus entering the Sterling Highway and to adhere to traffic signage staged near miles 82 and 92. Observing the fire from a safe location should be practiced instead of stopping along the highway. For current road conditions visit http://511.alaska.gov. Supporting agencies are posting fire and smoke-related information, official updates and helpful links atwww.kpboem.com. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is still in effect to support suppression efforts and firefighter safety. Pilots can confirm the current TFR restrictions at tfr.faa.gov. Be advised that drone operation is not permitted on the refuge.

OBJECTIVE: Fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry are working collaboratively with refuge personnel to manage the fire. The focus of all suppression efforts is to protect all of the values at risk including the community of Sterling and the highway corridor while reducing future wildland fire hazards and enhancing wildlife habitat.

FIRE INFORMATION: Call the Fire Information line at 208-391-3488, visit kpboem.com or inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6387/

KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE INFORMATION:  Contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or online at kenai.fws.gov.

  • Start Date: June 5th, 2019
  • Acres: 22,847
  • Personnel assigned: 291
  • Crews assigned: 12
  • Cause: lightning

For More Information

  • Incident phone number: (208) 391-3488
  • Inciweb.nwcg.gov
  • Facebook @BLMAFS
  • Twitter @BLM_AFS
  • Firewise: firewise.org

Categories: Active Wildland Fire, AK Fire Info, BLM Alaska Fire Service

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