Swan Lake efforts stay focused on HEA line, highway corridor

Jun 25, 2019

 

Pyrocumulus cloud as seen from the Sterling Highway, about five miles from western line of the Swan Lake Fire.
Credit Alaska Division of Forestry

Firefighting efforts were focused on keeping the Swan Lake Fire away from a major Homer Electric Association transmission line Tuesday.

Crews were clearing potential fuel sources near the line between mileposts 58 and 75 of the Sterling highway, causing delays of more than an hour in some cases. Bruce Shelley is HEA’s Director of Member Services. He says although the transmission line coming from the Bradley Lake hydroelectric plant is de-energized, they’re not treating it any differently than normal.

“It’s a de-engergized line, it’s not a dead line. It’s not grounded out… We have operations out there monitoring those dozers that are working along the line.”

The goal was to remove trees and other fuels that could bring the fire right to the power line. The latest estimates had the southern line of the fire within two miles of the highway. Pilot cars were guiding 200 cars through the area at a time, as the southbound lane was being used exclusively for firefighters. 

Fire breaks and other defenses have been working to keep Sterling proper safe, however, the fire did make its way into the Mystery Creek area. Another community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Sterling Community Center.

 

As of Tuesday, the size estimate was up again to more than 37,000 acres. More than 383 personnel are working the fire. A burn ban remains in effect for the Kenai Peninsula, with hot, dry conditions expected to persist at least through the end of the week. An air quality advisory is also in effect.