Swan Lake Fire crews in 'haul-out' mode

Jul 22, 2019

Credit Alaska Division of Forestry

 Firefighters made strides over the weekend in moving toward completing fire suppression objectives on the Swan Lake Fire and it is now 72 percent complete. Much of the fire area is currently unstaffed, though aircraft will closely monitor the fire for hot spots, but minimal fire growth is expected.

Over the weekend, there was no forward movement of the fire and acreage decreased by 185 acres due to more accurate mapping. Crews mopped-up or extinguished hot spots in the Upper Jean Lake area. Protection of historic cabins was assessed and equipment such as sprinklers and pumps were tested. Crews began removing excess supplies and equipment from the fireline where it is no longer needed.

Operation section chief Joe Alyea said in an update online Sunday that that included 40,000 feet of fire hose:

"We're here on the southwest side of the incident, we are starting to do backhaul and suppression repair along 'Division Alpha.' And what I mean by that is, is we're coming in and removing the hose length, where it's not applicable and back-hauling that equipment back to (incident command)," said Alyea. "Following up with that will be heavy equipment to come in and do any suppression repair to repair the suppression lines that help contain the incident on the southwest side. We put in a contingency line. And as we go to do some repair on the contingency while we using excavators to repair the dozer line, moving towards Watson Campground and what the dozer will do is come in and remove any burns and add any water bars to minimize any erosion issues and will also maintain a corridor for the electric company to maintain their lines along this."

Pumps, trash and other equipment are also being hauled off the line. Hot spots are extinguished up to 300 feet into the burn, but the interior will be allowed to burn out. Chippers will be used to chip the limbs and trees that were cut along secondary containment lines during suppression actions.

Wind will be out of the north/northwest this week, with warmer temperatures and lower humidity expected, and this trend will continue into the first of the week.