Firefighters thankful for weather break

Jul 11, 2019

Incident Commander, Brian Gales, provides an update and answers questions about the Swan Lake fire to meeting attendees at Cooper Landing School.
Credit Alaska Division of Forestry

Fire managers held another community meeting in Cooper Landing last (Wed.) night. Residents were updated on the Swan Lake Fire's progress since the last meeting on Friday. Cool, moist marine air has dampened the 100,000 acre blaze and reduced its intensity, if not the smoke.
Residents were told how the terrain and weather is resulting in a lot of "low intensity" burning in tundra, bogs and muskeg.
“Things are still extremely dry out here. This is a nice break,” said Fire behavior analyst Robert Burnside. “But there's a lot of stuff still burning out there and so just continuing to smother and that will that will continue to do so until we get significant weather.”
Brenda Ahlberg of the Kenai Peninsula Borough reassured nervous residents that every method available will be used to alert them if an evacuation is needed, and shared with them a 36-hour plan called "Ready, Set, Go" designed to ease any evacuation.
“What is ‘Ready’ and what is the ‘Set?’ Set being being the fact that you know what, there is a time now where you need to be thinking about alternative measures of getting out of here. They're giving you plenty of time to do so. So that you don't have to wait for the ‘Go’ portion of what they call a level three,” she said. “So in, in closing for myself, I think we're poised in a very positive position right now. To prepare ourselves to prepare our homes and not have to wait till being told to leave.”
As of this morning, there are 415 personnel fighting the lightning-caused fire that started five weeks ago. More firefighting teams are expected to join the effort this week. At 100,027 acres, it is 24 percent contained.