Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry

 

A cool weekend with some scattered rain showers helped slow the progress of the Swan Lake fire. Total acreage count remained steady over the weekend at about 160,000 and more than 700 personnel remain on the fire.

Alaska Div. Forestry

A new wildfire erupted Sunday evening. Firefighters and aircraft responded quickly and were aggressively fighting the new, small fire near the North Fork Road in Anchor Point. The fire flared up around 6:30 p.m. about 1.5 miles east of the Sterling Highway at mile 164.

Two helicopters with water buckets and 20 firefighters from Alaska Division of Forestry, Kachemak Emergency Services and the Anchor Point Fire & Emergency departments are working the fire. The Type 2 Initial Attack Yukon Crew is joining the effort today.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The 160-square-mile Swan Lake Fire that scorched the black spruce forest and muskeg northeast of Sterling this summer is still holding on. Only 16 firefighters are currently assigned to Swan Lake, most in reseeding and repair work, however helicopters are still in use to cool off hot spots that pop up.
This week several such flare-ups occurred on the hillside above the Sterling Highway near Upper Jean Lake and the Skyline Trail.

Alaska Division of Forestry

Fire managers held another community meeting in Cooper Landing last (Wed.) night. Residents were updated on the Swan Lake Fire's progress since the last meeting on Friday. Cool, moist marine air has dampened the 100,000 acre blaze and reduced its intensity, if not the smoke.
Residents were told how the terrain and weather is resulting in a lot of "low intensity" burning in tundra, bogs and muskeg.

The Swan Lake Fire has been burning northeast of Sterling for a month now. On this week's Kenai Conversation host Jay Barrett welcomes Andy Alexandrou and Dawn Gelderloos of the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Chris Moore/Alaska Division of Forestry

 

Firefighters were able to complete some key objectives on the Swan Lake fire burning on the Kenai Peninsula Thursday. 

Mike Hill/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

 

When the Incident Command team running operations on the Swan Lake fire met with community members last week, it was the number two priority fire in the state. Since then, total personnel working just outside Sterling has almost doubled.

Alaska Division of Forestry

 

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

Casey Lasota/Alaska Division of Forestry

 

Now clocking in at more than 32,000 acres, the Swan Lake fire continues to burn about five miles east of Sterling in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Almost 400 personnel are currently assigned to the fire, the fourth major event on this part of the Peninsula in the past six years. That frequency has given Refuge managers almost real time feedback on what their policies and practices mean on the landscape.

 


Alaska Division of Forestry

  The Swan Lake Fire near Sterling had minimal growth over the weekend, as cooler, wetter weather prevailed. The latest report from the state Division of Forestry says the size of the fire is estimated at 12,782 acres, an increase of only about 200 acres from Friday.

Alaska Division of Forestry

  A pair of 20-member firefighting crews have joined the effort to keep the Swan Lake fire, burning near Sterling, contained. The crew compliment now numbers 67 and more are on the way.

Alaska Division of Forestry

  The Swan Lake Fire northeast of Sterling continues to burn at a moderate pace, according to fire managers. It doubled in size again overnight, to almost 7,000 acres, or 11 square miles. 

The Division of Forestry has been keeping an eye on the wildfire, but allowed it to burn unimpeded as it headed further away from the community and highway. This latest expansion, though, has forced Forestry’s hand, and they are bringing in two 20-person firefighting crews today (Thursday) to begin work on securing the southwest corner of the fire.

Alaska Division of Forestry

As the Swan Lake Fire east of Sterling continues to grow, the Alaska Division of Forestry is stepping up management efforts. Not to the level of fighting the fire yet, but getting ready in case suppression efforts become necessary.

“Most of that new growth was on the northeast and northwest, away from the Sterling Highway,” said Sarah Saarloos, public information officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry. “And it’s still sitting at about 5.5, 6 miles as the crow flies away from the Sterling community. There is at this time no threat to the sterling community.”

Patrick Quiner/Alaska Division of Forestry

 

Fire crews were able to get a good handle on multiple fires burning around the Kenai Peninsula over the weekend. By late Friday, the 176 acre Tustumena Lake fire was called fully contained.

Patrick Quiner/Alaska Division of Forestry

 

Fire crews are getting a handle on a number of wildland fires across the Kenai Peninsula. Lightning strikes are the cause for all but one of the seven fires currently burning.

Jason Jordet/Alaska Division of Forestry

 

More thunderstorms are in the forecast for the end of the week and lightning associated with that weather sparked several wildland fires on the Kenai Peninsula Wednesday.