Even with recent snowfall, the Swan Lake fire will likely continue to smolder through the winter. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, we speak with fire managers from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and state Division of Forestry about how the fire was managed, how it’s being monitored during the winter, and what lessons were learned during the main event this summer.
A cool weekend with some scattered rain showers helped slow the progress of the Swan Lake fire. Total acreage count remained steady over the weekend at about 160,000 and more than 700 personnel remain on the fire.
A new wildfire erupted Sunday evening. Firefighters and aircraft responded quickly and were aggressively fighting the new, small fire near the North Fork Road in Anchor Point. The fire flared up around 6:30 p.m. about 1.5 miles east of the Sterling Highway at mile 164.
Two helicopters with water buckets and 20 firefighters from Alaska Division of Forestry, Kachemak Emergency Services and the Anchor Point Fire & Emergency departments are working the fire. The Type 2 Initial Attack Yukon Crew is joining the effort today.
The 160-square-mile Swan Lake Fire that scorched the black spruce forest and muskeg northeast of Sterling this summer is still holding on. Only 16 firefighters are currently assigned to Swan Lake, most in reseeding and repair work, however helicopters are still in use to cool off hot spots that pop up. This week several such flare-ups occurred on the hillside above the Sterling Highway near Upper Jean Lake and the Skyline Trail.