The Northwest 13 Incident Management Team Type 2 assumed command of the Swan Lake Fire at 7:00 AM today. Moderate fire behavior on Tuesday occurred on the east flank of the fire, moving east and northeast, through black spruce and alder toward Chugach National Forest. Firefighters are working to improve their line along the highway to extinguish hot spots that have become apparent during this dry weather. They will also be developing a strategy for the east side of the fire in the area of mile post 58 to 63 near the Skyline Trail area. The highway remains open but firefighters will be present so please use caution. Clouds and heavy smoke prevented a perimeter update by infrared satellite or helicopter mapping flight.
Firefighters and Homer Electric developed a strategy to reduce fire risk and to get their transmission line re-energized. The southwest corner area continues to remain a priority with fire crews working to strengthen containment lines.
North of the Homer Electric transmission line and along the East Fork Moose River, the Sterling Highway firelines remained strong yesterday as firefighters continue to mop-up. Night shift continues to patrol the Sterling Highway and monitor fire behavior.
The Moose Research Center and public use cabins to the north and northwest have structure protection in place and are being monitored.
A Community Meeting will be held on Friday, July 5, 2019, at 6:00 PM at the Cooper Landing Elementary School, 19030 Bean Creek Road, Cooper Landing, Alaska.
The mosaic burn pattern of the Swan Lake Fire is removing hazardous black spruce and providing for a more fire-resilient landscape in the future. Longterm, it will reduce the fire risk to communities, improve habitat and create diversity. Residents are encouraged to take this opportunity to ensure their property is Firewise. For information about Firewise actions and how to increase defensible space around your property, please visit http://forestry.alaska.gov/fire/firewise.
WEATHER: Temperatures will remain hot and dry. Inversions formed overnight are expected to burn off in the mid-day with high pressure keeping smoke hanging on within the Kenai Peninsula. Smoke remains a concern. For smoke forecasts from Alaska wildfires, visit UAFSMOKE at http://smoke.alaska.edu.
SAFETY: Construction continues along the Sterling Highway. Firefighters continue to patrol the area and construction workers are present, so please use lights and caution when driving. If conditions deteriorate due to nighttime inversions, traffic delays may be possible. For current road conditions visit http://511.alaska.gov. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has expanded to include the western expansion of the Chugach National Forest and still includes the Sterling Highway corridor to support suppression efforts and firefighter safety. Pilots can confirm the current TFR restrictions at http://tfr.faa.gov. Personal drone operations are not permitted on the refuge.
KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE INFORMATION: The Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area partially re-opened Monday to public use at Lower and Upper Ohmer Lakes, Lower Ohmer Campground, Upper and Lower Skilak Lake Campgrounds, and Upper Ohmer Lake Cabin. Skilak Lake Road, along with Jim’s, Upper and Lower Skilak landings remain open. Contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or online at http://kenai.fws.gov.