Swan Lake Fire – August 27 Update

Trinity Hotshots hold the line during burnout operations along the Sterling Highway – 08/26/19

Due to the fire and rapidly changing situations, the status of evacuation levels and the Sterling Highway can change quickly. These decisions are made in an effort to provide for safety of the public and firefighters. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management has the latest information at kpboem.com, on Facebook at KPB Alerts and at their call center at 907-262-INFO (4636).  When traveling along the Sterling Highway, do not pull over in the fire area.

On Monday afternoon, winds out of the north/northwest pushed the eastern edge of the fire across Resurrection Trail, prompting Cooper Landing to be raised to a “SET” status. Firefighters will be in this area today, making sure that contingency firelines are solid and can be defended.  Air operations will be used to provide best possible assessment of the fire. Additional crews will be ready to move to this area as needed.

The north winds assisted firefighters along the Sterling Highway on Monday afternoon, by allowing them to conduct “burnout” operations. Hotshot crews used drip torches to methodically light unburned fuel on the south side of the highway between mile markers 63.5 and 66.5. This operation will help secure the highway and further protect Hidden Lake Campground. The fire perimeter in this area will be assessed today. Unburned pockets within this area are expected to burn today.

Night operations patrolling the Sterling Highway and Skilak Road will continue.

Cooper Landing: Cooper Landing remains in a SET status due to fire activity. All residents should be SET to evacuate if the situation warrants. If you feel uncomfortable or need additional time, consider leaving before an evacuation notice.

Monday night, firefighters assigned to structure protection spent the night at the community center in order to be able to rapidly respond if needed. Today, crews will complete an assessment of structures within Cooper Landing and work to reduce fire risk around homes and businesses in cooperation with property owners. The preparation work on a contingency line in the Bean Creek/Slaughter area will be completed today. Planned contingencies and resources are in position if the fire moves towards Cooper Landing.

Firefighters will continue to construct fireline towards Surprise Creek in an effort to limit fire spread towards the Russian River.

Sterling: The 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.

Crew will work on “mopping up” within 30-50 feet of the fireline on the southwestern corner of the fire.  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.

Weather: Dry conditions with above average temperatures will continue today. Winds from the north to northwest will continue to transport smoke to the south and southeast. Partly cloudy skies will prevail and no precipitation is expected today. A high pressure system will come in towards the weekend, bringing an increase in winds along with an increased chance of precipitation.

Closures: 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 entire update, click here.

Categories: AK Fire Info


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