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Backfire operations completed near Sterling Highway

Jessica St. Laurent/BLM Alaska Fire Medic

        Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire near Sterling is expected to continue stalling traffic on the Kenai Peninsula through the weekend. Smoke from the fire is also spreading north to Turnagain Arm and Anchorage. The Alaska DOT continues to use pilot cars due to the smoke and firefighting equipment set up on the southbound lanes between mileposts 58 and 75.

Meanwhile, firefighters have completed intentional burning along the highway and the Homer Electric transmission line yesterday. Crews were expected to complete the remaining mile of firing operations between Watson and Afonasi lakes on the East Fork Moose River, helping to protect the community of Sterling.

The northeast section of the fire continues to grow toward a valve on the ENSTAR gas pipeline and the Trapper Joe public use cabin. Structure protection crews have prepared the sites in the event fire reaches them, including clearing away burnable vegetation and setting up pumps with hoses and sprinklers. Currently, the fire is held up at the Chickaloon River, but it is expected to continue moving to the northeast over the weekend.

Warm and dry conditions continue today with winds from the northwest.  Maximum temps may reach 87 within fire zone, with relative humidity decreasing as a high pressure system sets up over the area. 

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