The fire was reported at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday by multiple parties, both from the Sterling Highway and from the air, following several lightning strikes in the area. The Loon Lake Fire was initially reported at 2 acres but has grown to an estimated 5.8 acres as of this morning.
Firefighters reported “minimal activity” on the fire overnight. Firefighters arrived on scene by helicopter at around 11 p.m. and worked until 2 o’clock this morning. They were back on the fireline at 8 o’clock this morning. A helicopter was used to make multiple water drops on the fire late Saturday night to bolster efforts on the ground.
The fire is burning in a Limited protection area in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge about 1 mile from the spot the nearly 170,000-acre Swan Lake Fire was started by lightning two years ago. The fire is approximately 10 1/2 miles northeast of the community of Sterling and one-half mile from Swan Lake. Refuge managers have directed the Division of Forestry to take suppression action on the Loon Lake fire.
Firefighters are still working to get a hose lay around the fire, which is moving east toward Swan Lake about 1 mile away. The fire is advancing slowly in dense black spruce. The area south of the fire is part of the Swan Lake Fire burn scar and is already burned. Firefighters were chasing several small spot fires near the head of the fire. The Gannett Glacier Type 2 Initial Attack Crew based in Palmer has been ordered to the fire and a 15-member crew should join the suppression lineup sometime this afternoon.