Swan Lake Fire Growth Slows, Continues to Burn Easterly at Higher Elevations

Fire growth has slowed despite another hot, dry weekend. The east flank of the fire continues to move toward higher elevations and into the Mystery Creek, Thurman Creek, and Chickaloon River drainages. Fire movement through the black spruce is being influenced by topography and wind direction. Within the drainages and at higher elevations, tundra and alpine vegetation rarely support the rapid fire spread that is common in spruce stands.

Fire crews will be assessing public recreation cabins along the Resurrection Pass Trail for possible point protection should the fire reach the trail. A partial closure of the trail has been implemented by the Chugach National Forest.

Swan Lake Fire crews being transported to the fire line by bus

Efforts to hold the fire along the ENSTAR pipeline and the Chickaloon River continue to be successful on the north end of the fire. The western edge of the fire continues to smolder along marshy areas. Mop up continues along the southwest corner. In many areas, burn intensity has been variable, resulting in a mosaic burn pattern.

Mop up operations continue to extinguish areas of heat on the southern edge as firefighters work towards full containment along the Sterling Highway. This will strengthen the large fuel break created by burnout operations, which is designed to prevent future fires from reaching the highway and the community of Sterling.

Next public meeting set: There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, July 10, at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Landing Elementary School.

Weather: Another warm day is expected on Monday with highs in the upper 80s. A potential break in the high-pressure system over Alaska may allow for cooler temperatures and an increase in clouds and relative humidity midweek. Winds have been predominantly out of the north but a change to a southerly direction is anticipated.

Air Quality: A change in wind direction may provide relief to areas impacted by smoke. Air quality monitoring stations have been set up near Cooper Landing and Seward which provide real time readings 24-hours a day at http://tools.airfire.org . Click on the Monitoring PM2.5 tab to find readings. For smoke forecasts from Alaska wildfires, visit UAFSMOKE at http://smoke.alaska.edu.

Safety: Along the Sterling Highway, please use lights and caution when driving as firefighters, construction personnel, and emergency vehicles may be in the area. Traffic delays may occur if visibility becomes reduced due to smoke, especially during the overnight hours. For current road conditions visit http://511.alaska.gov. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has expanded to include the western portion of the Chugach National Forest and still includes the Sterling Highway corridor. Pilots can confirm the current TFR restrictions at http://tfr.faa.gov. Personal drone operation is not permitted on the refuge.

KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: Some facilities in the Skilak Lake recreation area have reopened but others remain closed. For the latest updates please contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or go online at http://kenai.fws.gov.

CHUGACH NATIONAL FOREST: A partial closure has been instituted on the Resurrection Pass Trail and other recreation sites, . Fire restrictions are in effect on the Chugach National Forest. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or some stoves, including charcoal fires, are prohibited. For the latest information on closures and fire restrictions please go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/chugach/news-events.

July 8 Swan Lake Fire Public Information Map – click here
July 8 Swan Lake Fire Progression Map – click here

About 2019swanlakefireinfo

The Swan Lake Fire was started by lightning on June 5th, 2019, in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

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