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: 57% Personnel: 265
ATTENTION: Fire weakened trees have been falling across roads and camping areas in and near the fire area due to winds. Campgrounds are closed due to these safety hazards and drivers on the roads need to watch for falling trees. It is possible that visitors may encounter blocked roads. Crews will clear trees as needed.
Current Status: High winds caused numerous fire weakened trees to fall across the Skilak Loop Road and the Lower and Upper Skilak Boat Launch roads on Tuesday night. On Wednesday fire crews worked through the day to cut and clear the fallen trees to reestablish access through the roads. On the southern side of the fire and south of the Kenai River, the fire suppression repair work was evaluated and documented. Wind and wet conditions limited the amount of time that firefighters were able to spend along the fire perimeter near the Fuller Lakes Trail but they did work where they could safely do so. The structure protection group continued to pack up and prepare pumps, hoses, tanks, and equipment for backhaul from within the community of Cooper Landing. A weather system moved through the fire area bringing rain overnight Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday morning. Fire behavior remained low due to the rain.
Planned Actions: The repair of fire suppression lines will continue where it is appropriate to do so on the southwest and south sides of the fire. On the southeast side of the 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. This area has been worked on for numerous days and good progress is being made. The dismantling, packing up, and backhaul of pumps, hose, drop tanks, and equipment from the Cooper Landing area will continue today as well. Today’s weather is expected to remain dry with some cloud cover keeping temperatures cooler and humidity levels higher. The recent precipitation, cool temperatures, and humidity is expected to keep fire behavior and spread potential very low. The deep duff pockets and heavy fuels will continue to smolder and cause visible smoke.
Key Messages: The 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 has reopened. The entire length of the Skilak Lake Road including Jim’s Landing and Upper and Lower Skilak Boat Launches are open. Visitors need to be aware that hazardous conditions exist in the burned areas that can be difficult to see. Standing trees can weaken and fall as the fire burns the organic duff layer surrounding their roots. Any amount of wind will blow these trees down. 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.
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.
Alaska Fire Info: https://akfireinfo.com
Public Information Phone: (208) 391-3488
Kenai Peninsula Borough: http://kpboem.com/