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: 68% Personnel: 221
Current Status: Over the course of the past several days fire crews have been completing fire suppression repair work in various locations along the western, southern, and eastern sides of the fire. This repair work continued yesterday with the completion of brush chipping near the Bean Road in Cooper Landing, addressed cutting of fire weakened trees along roadways where needed, and excavator work to repair suppression lines in a couple of locations. The planned backhaul of pumps, hose, and equipment has been completed. Some pumps and hose remain in key locations but have been winterized to protect from freezing. The structure protection group finished all of the equipment backhaul from the Cooper Landing area as well as finished all of their suppression repair tasks. Additional rain fell over the fire area in the morning but drier conditions came in the afternoon. Fire behavior continued to remain very low due to the rain and cooler conditions.
Planned Actions: Fire crews plan to continue the repair the fire suppression lines in several locations around the fire. Erosion control features will be brought in and installed on a dozer line between the Skilak Road and the Kenai River east of Hidden Lake. In areas where the fire reached roads firefighters will continue to monitor for fire weakened trees falling and cut them as needed. Dry and very cool conditions settled in overnight on Saturday. Sunday will begin clear and dry but clouds will move in later in the afternoon. There is a chance of rain showers Sunday night and into Monday but any amounts will be light. The weather pattern over the fire area continues to bring cooler than normal temperatures and regular rounds of moisture. This weather along with shorter daylight hours is expected to keep fire behavior and fire spread potential very low. The deep duff pockets and heavy fuels will continue to smolder and cause visible smoke in places.
Key Message: Residents and 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 all refuge and national forest lands that have been burned. All recreation facilities along the Skilak Road, including campgrounds, trails, and day use areas remain closed. 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 part of 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, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Fish & Game.