Five days of rain has saturated the forest floor in and around the Swan Lake Fire and the official response will be turned over to a smaller incident management team sometime this week as the fire continues to wind down. The fire acreage is 102,229 and the personnel assigned to the blaze is down to 118 from a peak over 500.
Fire Behavior Analyst Mike Bowden says deeper layers of vegetation and duff remain dry, but considerably more drying would be needed for any more fire activity to occur.
Residual heat is primarily on the interior of the fire or toward the north end, away from the Sterling Highway, homes, and other improvements needing protection. It will be monitored by aircraft until fire personnel are certain it poses no danger to the public or the Sterling Highway. Monitoring may continue for months to come.
The break in the weather Monday allowed helicopters to fly in personnel to remove pumps, sprinklers, and other equipment from the fire line. Crews will continue repairing damage caused by suppression operations by re-establishing proper drainage on dozer lines, covering exposed soils with vegetation to reduce future erosion potential, and chipping piles of limbs and brush created during fire-line construction
The Eastern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team will be turning management of the fire over to a smaller Alaska organization mid-week.
Warmer and drier conditions will return through Thursday. With the amount of previous precipitation, no increase in fire behavior is expected.