Swan Lake Fire – Aug. 26

Travel Delays Remain Likely Along Sterling Highway

The status of the Sterling Highway is subject to change at any time. 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.

Early Sunday afternoon, the western portion of the fire south of Sterling Highway became active, pushing north towards the highway. The increase in fire activity and the use of firefighting aircraft and burnout operations forced traffic delays, which are expected to continue today.  The team is being assisted with work along the highway with local fire departments. Firefighters will patrol the Sterling Highway and Skilak Road at least through the next several nights.

Smoke on the Sterling Highway – August 25, 2019

Later in the evening, isolated showers began to develop which generated elevated winds. These winds resulted in increased fire behavior along the highway which reduced visibility due to smoke, resulting in delays.

Sterling: The fire has not progressed any further west towards Sterling. Fire crews have begun the process of “mopping up” 30-50 feet within the fire line. Mop up of a wildland fire involves extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines to prevent reignition. Structure protection at Kelly Lake, Engineer Lake, Upper Ohmer cabins, Skilak Guard Station and Hidden Lake Pavilion remain in place.

Cooper Landing: Crews are working to identify values at risk and complete an assessment of structures within Cooper Landing. They will work to reduce fire risk around homes and businesses in cooperation with property owners. Firefighters will be shuttled by boat across the Kenai River to construct fireline east of Surprise Creek. The goal of this fireline is to limit spread towards the Russian River. Aerial resources were used in this area to reduce heat and assist crews on the ground. Crews will work to identify and improve fire control lines along the Fuller Lakes Trail to limit fire movement to the east.

Weather: The weather continues to remain hot and dry.  Wind speeds will remain relatively light. The fire area has received a couple hundredths inches of rain, and the slight chance for light and isolated showers remain today. Wetting rains over the fire area remain unlikely.

Evacuations and Closures: Cooper Landing and Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road remain in a READY status. 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 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.

For a printable version of the complete update, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/AKKKS/2019-06-12-1534-Swan-Lake/related_files/pict20190726-132131-0.pdf

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