Swan Lake Fire Fact Sheet – 9/18/19 – 11:15 AM

Location: 5 miles northeast of Sterling, AK

Incident Command: Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4, Rick Connell, I.C.

Size: 167,164 acres Containment: 48% Personnel: 254

ATTENTION: Fire weakened trees have been falling across roads in and near the fire area due to winds. Drivers on the roads need to watch for falling trees and may experience delays. Crews will clear trees as needed.

Current Status: 
Fire activity and growth has remained very low over the past several days. Along the Skilak Loop Road the tree cutting and chipping work has been completed while an excavator continues to work on some fire suppression rehabilitation. On the southern side of the fire and south of the Kenai River, firefighters backhauled two-thirds of the hose, pumps, and hardware from areas where the fire perimeter is secured. Fire crews continued to mop up and seek out hot spots along the fire perimeter near the Fuller Lakes Trail. They were able to secure the fire line and tie it into a secure location in higher elevation alder brush. The firefighters in structure protection began packing up and backhauling pumps, hoses, tanks, and equipment which had been set up within the community of Cooper Landing. The weather remained dry for most of the day but a low pressure system moved over the area late in the afternoon bringing rain throughout the night. Fire behavior remained low due to cloud cover and moisture.

Planned Actions: Fire crews will continue to patrol, seek out hot spots, and mop up those hot spots along the fire perimeter lines near the Fuller Lakes Trail, an area that crews have been working on for several days. In several other areas the repair of suppression fire lines will be started or continued where it is appropriate to do so. In locations where pumps and hose need to remain in place those equipment items will be winterized in case colder temperatures arrive. The backhaul of pumps, hose, and equipment from the Cooper Landing area will also continue today. The weather expected over the next several days will include cycles of rain showers, cloudy conditions, cool temperatures, and high humidity. Due to recent and expected precipitation, fire spread potential is expected to remain very low. However, during periods of sun or wind the deep duff pockets and heavy fuels will continue to smolder and cause visible smoke.

Key Messages: The Level 1 READY alert for all areas of Cooper Landing was lifted on September 17. In addition, that portion of the Kenai River from Jim’s Landing to Skilak Lake as well as the entire length of the Skilak Loop Road along with the Upper Skilak Boat Launch is open. 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 hot ash pits behind. Please remember to keep pets and children close at hand and out of the burned area to prevent injuries.

Restrictions/Closures: An area closure remains in effect for the back channel on the south side of the Kenai River from approximately River Mile 69.5 to River Mile 71.5. All recreation facilities along the Skilak Loop Road, including campgrounds, trails, and day use areas remain closed. Additionally, all refuge and national forest 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 (9/9687 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.

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6387/
Email: 2019.swanlake@firenet.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kpbalerts/
Alaska Fire Info: https://akfireinfo.com
Public Information Phone: (208) 391-3488
Kenai Peninsula Borough: http://kpboem.com/

Click here for a printable version of today’s Fact Sheet.

Click here for a printable version of today’s Public Information Map.

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