Swan Lake Fire Update – September 1, 2019

A Canadian “scooper” air tanker fills for water drops on the Resurrection Pass Trail.

Weather: Light rain and cooler temperatures arrived yesterday as expected. Field observations confirmed that moisture reached the ground in all but the densest spruce stands and did increase fuel moisture content. No measurable precipitation occurred last night and very little is expected until late tonight.  Sustained east to southeast winds of eight to ten miles per hour with gusts of 25 to 30 miles per hour are anticipated today. Firefighters have been cautioned about wind’s effects on both fire behavior and increased danger from falling snags and green trees. Infrared data obtained with a drone will target specific hotspots to limit firefighter exposure to wind induced hazards.

Cooper Landing remains in a SET evacuation status.

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

The cooler, moister conditions noticeably moderated fire behavioryesterday. Open flames near the fire perimeter were observed in only a few isolated locations.  Wetter fuels reduced the effort necessary to achieve work objectives. Operations today will be very similar to those of the past several days.

Cooper Landing:  Air tankers made water drops much of the afternoon to assist crews constructing line along the Resurrection Pass Trail north of Cooper Landing.  The structure protection group working with local resources focused on installing pumps and sprinklers in and around Cooper Landing.  Adjacent to and south of the Sterling Highway including south of the Kenai River, firefighters worked to extinguish any remaining heat or fire in a 100 foot wide area inside and parallel with the containment lines. 

Sterling: Fire activity on the southern portion of the west flank has been minimal for several days.  Firefighters assigned to that area have been able to focus their efforts on reinforcing established containment lines (mop up) south of the highway. They have made significant progress in completing the one hundred foot wide area paralleling the perimeter. Along the north shore of Skilak Lake, mop up is proceeding with an emphasis on the areas adjacent to the campgrounds and other improvements. Structure protection measures west of Sterling are in place.

Holiday Travel Advisory: Expect delays on the Sterling Highway between Sterling and the junction with the Seward Highway.  Increased winds present an imminent hazard for toppling  trees onto the roadway. 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)

Closures: The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Chugach National Forest have issued area closures for public lands surrounding and including the Swan Lake Fire to provide needed public and firefighter 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.

About 2019swanlakefireinfo

The Swan Lake Fire was started by lightning on June 5th, 2019, in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

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