Swan Lake Fire Update – August 17, 2019

Swan Lake Fire smoke visible from Sterling Highway MILE 61

A cold front moving in from the north is bringing very dry, gusty northwest wind which is pushing smoke into Cooper Landing and the Kenai River corridor. These dry, windy conditions further dried out fuels yesterday and there was a marked increase in fire activity in several areas. There was substantial growth in the Thurman Creek drainage, and in the Mystery Creek and Dike Creek drainages. These conditions are forecast to last throughout the weekend, prompting Refuge Managers to close the Fuller Lakes and Skyline Trails. The Chugach National Forest has implemented a closure on Resurrection Pass trail from the junction of Devil’s Pass south to the Sterling Highway. This closure includes closures for the public use cabins at East and West Swan Lake, Trout, Romig and Juneau cabins.

Large columns of smoke from these drainages were visible from Cooper Landing yesterday and are expected to be visible today. After the cold front passes temperatures will drop but conditions will still be very dry. Smokey conditions are expected to continue in Cooper Landing over the the weekend and motorists are advised to slow down and use caution driving through the fire area, turn on headlights when smoke is present, and be alert for other drivers potentially distracted by fire operations. Visit https://tinyurl.com/yxn6hmrq for current road conditions.

Air quality is reported to be hazardous in Cooper Landing this morning and is not expected to improve through the weekend. Air quality monitors have been set up in the fire area. Data from monitors in Cooper Landing can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/y3rsbkr5. The monitor in Sterling can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y5ens5fv.


Aircraft will continue to drop water on an area of heat north of Upper Jean Lake and in an area northwest of Fuller Lakes. Aircraft working in these areas will be visible from the road and motorists are asked to be alert for vehicles stopped along the highway and be aware that dangerous conditions can exist when traffic flow is disrupted by vehicle stopping to view suppression operations.


Drought codes are still very high and the fire is burning deep in ground fuels. It will take a substantial amount of precipitation to penetrate to the deeper duff layers. Some cloud cover is expected on Tuesday but no rain is predicted in the 10 Day forecast.


The fire is still west of management action points that would necessitate evacuation notices, however, some area closures remain in place. In addition to the closures listed above, the following access routes within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are closed to the public: Mystery Creek Road and the Enstar Pipeline right-of-way north from the refuge boundary east of Sterling. Questions or requests for copies of the closure order or maps should be directed to the Refuge at (907) 262-7021. People with recreational-related questions should contact the Refuge visitor center at (907) 260-2820.

Start Date: 06/05/2019 Location: 4.5 Miles E of Sterling, AK Cause: Lightning Fire Size: 102,906 acres Containment: 80% Total Personnel: 17

Public Information: 208-391-3488

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