Though the Swan Lake Fire, which has been burning for two weeks north of Sterling, has been growing slowly, and not toward civilization, fire managers are nonetheless bringing in five elite "hotshot" fire crews from the Lower 48. The 100 hotshots join 169 others already fighting the blaze.
The fire is now estimated at over 16,000 acres, or 25 square miles.
Activity is anticipated on the eastern flank of the fire where black spruce stands are very receptive to fire spread. The goal is to prevent the fire from getting established east of Mystery Creek Road. Airborne fire managers are directing helicopters and air tankers as needed to keep it from crossing the road.
Firefighters and fire prevention specialists are visiting neighborhoods in and around the Sterling community to assess the readiness of homeowners. There is currently no immediate threat to Sterling but now is the time to be prepared.
The Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team is hosting a community meeting Friday, June 21, at the Sterling Community Center at 6 p.m. Incident command staff will be on hand to field any questions.