Caribou Lake Fire Update – August 28, 2019

Fire activity on the Caribou Lake Fire is mostly smoldering and creeping with some isolated single tree torching. The fire grew four acres, for a total of 904 acres; and remains 20 percent contained. Although there was minimal fire activity reported on Tuesday, firefighters continued to find heat about two feet below the surface. Crews received additional supplies in the afternoon to support the firefighting effort. Firefighters from Kachemak Emergency Services supported the helicopter transport of supplies by completing dust abatement at the helispot located off Basargin Road. Firefighters have reported an increase recreational traffic in the area. The public is asked to avoid the fire area and adhere to the temporary flight restriction covering the air space over the fire.

Minimal fire growth is expected over the next several days. Firefighters, consisting of several crews and smokejumpers, will continue to cool any remaining heat within 75 feet or more from the fire perimeter – a process referred to as mopping up. A helicopter will support the firefighters will water drops and delivery of additional supplies as needed. Although there are cabins and other structures in the area, no structures are threatened at this time.

Safety: Helicopters and firefighters will be using a portion of the gravel pit parking area on Basargin Road as a helispot in support of the Caribou Lake Fire. Fire officials are asking people to avoid parking in the area near the helispot for the safety of the firefighters and public.

Weather: Temperatures will be in the low 60s with mostly sunny skies on Wednesday. Calm winds will shift toward the south, which may bring a return of smoke to communities on the Kenai Peninsula, south of the Swan Lake Fire. Similar weather conditions are forecast for Thursday, before an increased chance of precipitation is expected on Friday afternoon.

Sterling Highway: Although the Sterling Highway remains open, travel on the highway is not advised. Motorists should be prepared to wait for the pilot car to shuttle them between Watson Lake (MP71) and the intersection of the Sterling and Seward Highways (MP36). Smoke may settle along the highway, particularly in the morning hours, as the cooler air causes the smoke to settle in low-lying areas. For the latest road conditions, visit 511.alaska.gov.

A Dense Smoke Advisory in effect for the western Kenai Peninsula, including the cities of Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, and Cooper Landing until 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Evacuations and Closures: None

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Caribou Lake Fire (9/7506 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.

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