Swan Lake Fire: Special Travel Advisory

STERLING, ALASKA 1:00pm: For Immediate Release

DOT signs displaying traffic messages
DOT signs displaying traffic messages. Photo Kale Casey/Alaska Division of Forestry

The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team has been working closely with officials from the Kenai Peninsula Office of Emergency Management, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska State Troopers, the Homer Electric Association, Granite Construction and other cooperating agencies, to be prepared should the smoke and activity of the Swan Lake Fire affect the Sterling Highway corridor and Homer Electric transmission lines. Hot and dry weather coupled with persistent winds from the northwest are pushing both smoke and the east flank of the fire towards the highway corridor and transmission line. Smoke impacts will reduce visibility and will cause delays for all traffic between milepost 58 and 75.5. All motorists are encouraged to drive slowly and cautiously with headlights on. 

The Alaska Department of Transportation is dedicated to keeping weekend traffic moving with the use of flaggers and pilot cars. Travelers are advised to be prepared for long delays and should consider bringing extra water and food, as well as extra ice and coolers to keep fish cold. Motorists are advised to allow plenty of extra time to reach destinations and to be on alert to give the right of way to emergency response vehicles. Skilak Lake Road is a narrow gravel road and should not be considered as an option for recreation vehicles, fifth-wheel trailers and semi tractors with trailers.

DOT signs displaying traffic messages
DOT signs displaying traffic messages. Kale Casey/Alaska Division of Forestry

In consideration of firefighter and public safety the Homer Electric Association, working in coordination with fire managers, is prepared to de-energize the 115,000-volt Transmission Tie Line that connects Bradley Lake Hydroelectic facility to the rest of the railbelt utilities. Homer Electric has been in communication with railbelt utilities so that they will be prepared. This action will not affect consumer power on the Kenai Peninsula or points north.    

The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area has been expanded to include the Sterling Highway corridor for the safety of firefighting aircraft and personnel. Pilots need to be aware that large water scooping aircraft will be using Skilak and Hidden lakes. Recreationists in these areas need to remain alert and vigilant about staying away from the center of the lakes while these aircraft assist the fire crews working along the fire’s edge.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has issued a closure order that includes Seven Lakes Trail, Kelly Lakes Campground, Peterson Lakes Campground, Jean Lake Campground, Egumen Lake Trail , Skyline Trail and Bottenintnin Lake Use Area. 

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