Swan Lake Fire Update – August 25

A community meeting will be held tonight at the Sterling Community Center at 6:00 pm.

On Saturday afternoon, the fire was active approximately 1.5 miles south of the Sterling Highway, within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Fixed wing aircraft took action and dropped water on this area, to minimize fire growth. The acreage growth from yesterday is 31 acres, although the recent infrared flight was likely impacted by cloud cover. A crew was assigned to operations on Saturday to Skilak Lake Road and Sterling Highway through the night. The crew will repeat this patrol on Sunday night. 

Temporary delays of the Sterling Highway remain possible. Closure information is available at 511.alaska.gov, kpoem.com, and on Facebook at KPB Alerts. A travel plan for these delays is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y6s3n5jh.  Heavy firefighting equipment will be on the highway. Driving with more caution than normal while on the highway is advised.

Sterling: Towards Sterling, the southwestern edge of the fire remains staffed with firefighters and is secure. Sterling will still continue to be impacted by smoke.  Structures that are being protected in this area remain secure.

Cooper Landing: Crews have been working to establish firelines in the Fuller Lake Trail area to secure the east flank north of the highway. Boats continue to be used to shuttle crews across the Kenai River to reinforce control lines on the south side of the river in the Surprise Creek area, there firefighters have a mile of progress to date. While the threat of a jokulhaups (glacial outburst flood) remains, local boat operators feel that firefighting efforts are not likely to be impacted adversely by flooding. Firefighters continue to work to improve lines north of the Sterling Highway, and to provide structure protection along the Resurrection Trail. Crews continue to work to minimize impact to the community and roadways.

Weather: A weak low pressure system will be approaching the Gulf of Alaska, bringing shifting winds out of the northwest to out of the southwest. Smoke will remain in the fire area on Sunday, especially in Cooper Landing. Clouds are anticipated to increase through the day. While a slight chance of light and isolated showers is possible, the chance for a wetting rain remains unlikely. The weather continues to be dry, with above average temperatures.

Evacuations and Closures: Cooper Landing and the Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road remain in a READY status since 08/18/19 when the Swan Lake Fire activity increased. A READY notification is NOT a notice to leave. This notification means that you must be ready for potential evacuation if 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. Check for further information on http://www.kpboem.com, or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates.

Closures in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge include the entire length of Skilak Lake Road and all adjacent recreational trails and day use areas. The Russian River Ferry is closed. The Upper Kenai River between the Cooper Landing State Boat Launch and where the river enters Skilak Lake is closed to all public use. Closures on the Chugach National Forest include the Russian River Campground, K’Beq Day Use Area, Russian River Falls, and the Russian Lakes Trail from the Russian River Campground south including Barber Cabin. Closures remain in place on Resurrection Pass Trail from the junction of Devil’s Pass south to the Sterling Highway, including the following public use cabins: West Swan Lake, Swan Lake, Trout, Romig, and Juneau.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/5040 NOTAM). The TFR includes unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as well. Flying drones near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters as a result of a mid-air collision with tactical firefighting aircraft.

A printable version of the full update may be found here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/AKKKS/2019-06-12-1534-Swan-Lake/related_files/pict20190725-121405-0.pdf

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