Swan Lake Fire – August 18, 2019 at 10 a.m.

Extreme dry conditions and high winds brought very dry, gusty north winds pushing the Swan Lake Fire across the Sterling Highway at MP 60.  Expect increased 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 forecasted to last throughout the weekend with expected wind gusts up to 21 miles per hour.

Photo of Swan Lake Fire taken late Saturday (8/17/19) evening from Sterling Highway.

Closures have been issued by the Refuge Manager to close Fuller Lake Trail, Skyline Trail, the Russian River Ferry, Hidden Lake Campground, Jim’s Landing, Sportsman’s Landing, Hideout Trail, and the Kenai River Trail.  The Chugach National Forest has implemented closures of the Russian River Campground, The K’Beq historical site, Barber Cabin, and the Russian Lakes Trail to Russian River Falls.  Closures remain in place on Resurrection Pass trail from the junction of Devil’s Pass south to the Sterling Highway. This closure includes the public use cabins at East and West Swan Lake, Trout, Romig and Juneau cabins.  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.

Expect significant delays on the Sterling Highway due to fire and firefighting activity from milepost 48 to milepost 62.  Skilak Lake Road is currently closed from Upper Skilak Lake Road to the East entrance of Skilak Lake Road due to fire approaching the roadway and visibility limited due to smoke. Check for updates at http://511.alaska.gov/.

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This map of the Swan Lake Fire shows the trigger points established for evacuation alerts for the Cooper Landing area. For a downloadable PDF version of the map go to Evacuation map for Swan Lake Fire 8-18-19

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has issued a Level 1: Ready for the Cooper Landing community. A Level 1 (READY) evacuation alert is NOT a notice to leave. This alert means that you must be ready for potential evacuation. There is a fire in your local area. Assist family members with special needs, arrange to move mobile property (boats, trailers, ATV), and prepare pets or livestock. Monitor social media, news and radio for information.  Check for further information on www.kpboem.com or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates. 

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 http://m.511.alaska.gov/m.alaska511/mobileHome 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.

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