Swan Lake Fire Fact Sheet 09/13/19

Size:      163,714 acres                           Containment: 42%                   Personnel: 374

Current Status: At the beginning of the day fire crews started working in the same areas as previous days on the southwestern and southeastern sides of the fire. By mid-morning the winds started to increase and began to blow down fire weakened trees along and near the fire lines. Field level fire supervisors and crew supervisors made the decision to pull the firefighters back from the lines for their safety. The crews took this opportunity to refurbish their gear and equipment. Heavy use of chainsaws, pumps, and hoses on the fire line can wear down equipment over time. It is helpful to conduct regular maintenance and chain sharpening on tools and equipment. In Cooper Landing structure protection crews continued to demonstrate fire wise work and improving defensible space. Fire behavior continued to be subdued with some rain showers, cloud cover, and high humidity.

Planned Actions: If wind speeds allow and it is safe to do so fire crews will return to the line. High winds pose a risk to firefighters working around fire weakened trees and steep slopes. Crews on the southeast side of the fire will return to the fire lines where heat has been found in recent days and continue to check any fire spread and cool hot spots. Firefighters will continue to work along the southwestern side of the fire cutting fire weakened trees and chipping brush along the Skilak Road. Existing lines on the south side of the fire will continue to be patrolled by firefighters. The weather system predicted yesterday was moving faster than predicted and not producing as much rain due to the alignment of clouds moving along the mountains and not up and over the mountains. Fire behavior is expected to remain low during this time although the heavy fuels and ground duff layers will continue to hold heat.

Key Message: When traveling on that part of the Skilak Road which was recently reopened to the boat launch, visitors need to be aware that hazardous conditions exist in the burned areas that can be difficult to see. Standing trees can be weakened as the fire burns the organic duff layer surrounding their roots. Any amount of wind will blow these trees down. In addition, the fire has burned very deep in some places, leaving ash pits behind. Please remember to keep pets and children close at hand and out of the burned area to prevent injuries.

Restrictions: An area closure remains in effect for a channel on the south side of the Kenai River from approximately River Mile 69.5 to River Mile 71.5. The Kenai River remains closed beyond Jim’s Landing to Skilak Lake. The Lower Skilak campground and day use facility remains closed. All the lands off the Lower Skilak boat access road, including Marsh Lake and day use facilities remain closed. Additionally all refuge lands that have been burned are closed to public access. Information on these closures is available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6387/.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): The current TFR in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/2925 NOTAM) will lesson impacts to local aviation operators. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Cooperating Agencies: US Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Alaska Division of Forestry, US Forest Service, Alaska State Parks, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Central Emergency Services, Cooper Landing Volunteer Fire Department, Alaska State Troopers, National Guard, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

For a printable version of today’s fact sheet, click here.

For a printable version of today’s fire progression map, click here.

For a printable version of today’s public information map, click here.

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