Swan Lake Fire Update – August 31, 2019


A Fire Boss scoops water for dropping near the Resurrection Pass Trail.

Weather: The leading edge of a low pressure system arrived over the area late Friday afternoon bringing much needed rain.  Intermittent light rain and cooler temperatures are expected today with the rain and wind intensifying tomorrow.  Anticipated rain amounts will reduce the burn potential for exposed fine fuels and rapid surface spread. Large fuels and those sheltered under the tree canopy will likely not be dramatically affected. For example, last night personnel observed a tree torching in the rain

Holiday Travel Advisory: Expect delays on the Sterling Highway between Sterling and the junction with the Seward Highway.  Fire weakened trees and increased winds present an imminent hazard. 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).  

Cooper Landing: Yesterday, fire behaviorgenerally mimicked the pattern observed on Thursday.  Moderate activity occurred in the morning under clear skies. First smoke and later cloud cover obscured the sun, diminishing afternoon fire intensity for many areas. Crews resumed extending containment lines and reducing fuels around three cabins along the Resurrection Pass Trail.  Single engine air tankers (Fire Boss/scoopers) assisted them and the area south of the Kenai River with water drops for much of the afternoon. Around Cooper Landing, the structure protection group and local fire department personnel continued preparing developed areas to withstand a fire advance should it occur. The remainder of the resources assigned to the east side of the incident focused on further reinforcing lines to keep the fire within the existing perimeter (mop up).

Cooper Landing remains in a SET evacuation status.

Sterling: Fire fighters onthe west side of the fire were primarily engaged in reinforcing established containment lines (mop up) south of the highway.  A contingent also began identifying and cutting fire-weakened trees that could present a hazard to motorists on the Sterling Highway and Skilak Lake Road.  Structure protection measures are in place.

The READY evacuation status for affected Sterling neighborhoods remains in effect.

Operations today will largely be a continuation of yesterday’s activities. The cooler, moister conditions and the expected reduced fire activity through the weekend should boost progress.

Closures: The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Chugach National Forest have issued comprehensive area closures for public lands surrounding and including the Swan Lake Fire to provide needed public safety.  The orders and accompanying maps are available at local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Chugach National Forest offices and online at http://kpboem.blogspot.com/2019/08/082919-kenai-national-wildlife-refuge.html

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/7677 NOTAM) and was expanded August 31 (9/1493 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, click here.

For a printable version of the map, click here.

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