Update: Hotshots ready to make stand at Russian River

Aug 21, 2019

Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire shrouds Cooper Landing Tuesday afternoon.
Credit Alaska Division of Forestry

          The Sterling Highway was closed again this morning, but smoke and flames from the Swan Lake Fire could change that.

Traffic moved in both directions on the Sterling through the Upper Kenai River corridor yesterday where fire encroached over the weekend, but the DOT closed it again this morning because of dense smoke and flames near the roadway.

Though the wind has died down, emergency managers are still preparing for the worst. The Level 1-"Ready" evacuation warning is still in effect for Cooper Landing and in Sterling East of Feuding Lane and Adkins Road to the west boundary of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Evans Kua is the Deputy Incident Commander for Great Basin Team One, which just arrived to take over management of the resurgent fire.

"To implement the plan that the (previous) team has come up with we've been surging resources in from other surrounding areas as well as the Lower 48. Yesterday, additional crews came in and we're expecting several more crews to come today. We also have available Canada Air water scoopers that we can also use in addition to the helicopters already assigned to this fire," Kua said. "We plan on using all those resources to continue operations on the southwest side of the fire securing the highway corridor. The other portion on the southeast side, that's south of the highway, as well as working up this one drainage to keep the fire from coming into Cooper Landing."

That 'one drainage' is the Russian River.

Outgoing incident commander Brentwood Reid said the southwest finger of the fire stopped short of the footprint left by the Card Street fire some years ago.

KDLL is posting regular updates on KDLL dot org and our Facebook page. More resources can be had at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management's blog.

*This story was modified to bring it up to date in regards to the road condition.