After mobilizing two additional crews to the approximately 102-acre Loon Lake Fire on Monday, today’s objective is for the crews to connect a saw line that has been cut around part of the fire with hose lays that have been placed around the fire to encircle the entire fire perimeter with saw and hose line.
Containment remains at 15 percent and there are 81 personnel assigned to the fire, including three crews. Very little smoke was visible from the fire yesterday. Hotter and drier conditions today will test containment lines as crews continue work to increase the depth along the perimeter.
Located approximately 10 miles northeast of the community of Sterling and the Sterling Highway, the fire is burning in remote wilderness within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, approximately 4 miles west of where the 2019 Swan Lake fire was started by lightning. The Loon Lake Fire does not currently pose any threat to the community of Sterling or any other values at risk.
The north side of the fire is boxed in by Swan Lake and crews are working to secure containment line on the south side of the fire. An additional helicopter arrived this morning and will provide critical logistical support by shuttling in key supplies to firefighters, including hose, pumps, fuel and the fresh food boxes.
Mop-up operations have already begun, with the Moose River and the nearby lakes providing fire crews and aviation assets with a close water source for hose lays and helicopter bucket drops. Two primary concerns for firefighters are working safely amongst hazard and fire weakened trees that could topple over and unanticipated bear encounters in the remote area.
One of the crews will remain engaged on the fireline today but will be available for initial attack on any new, higher priority fires on the Kenai Peninsula. With high temperatures and low humidities today, surface fuels are critically dry in many areas which could lead to rapid rates of fire spread on new starts.
A burn suspension is in effect for the Kenai Peninsula and there is a 3-mile Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area to prevent aircraft and drones from interfering with crew and supply shuttles, recon and bucket work. For more information on the specifics of the TFR, go to https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_1_2229.html
Links to videos on YouTube:
June 14th video update from Watson Lake: https://vimeo.com/563109062
Ground fire and saw work: https://youtu.be/Oz1uUC4OizY
Fire Boss dropping water: https://youtu.be/Oz1uUC4OizY