Dan Nelson

The Swan Lake Fire was almost out when strong winds whipped it back to life Saturday night. Hot spots flared up and the fire jumped the Sterling Highway at Milepost 60 around 2 a.m. Sunday. The wind-driven blaze is exhibiting fast-paced crown-burning activity, according to Mike Hill with the Swan Lake Incident Command.
    The fire has caused the closure of the Sterling Highway from miles 58 to 75, as well as Skilak Loop Road due to encroaching flames and dense smoke. The Kenai River from Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake is also closed.

Spring time in Alaska also means it's fire season. On this week's Kenai Conversation, we'll talk with Dan Nelson, Emergency Manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, about the recent fires that triggered the start of the season, evacuation protocol during a fire and some of the things homeowners can do to prepare for the season if they haven't already. 


Kenai Peninsula Borough

 

People across south central are still processing the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that shook the region for several minutes last month. For folks who work in emergency management, it was yet another test of how well their local programs provide a response to such events.

It's been a busy year for the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, from floods to tsunamis to earthquakes. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, OEM manager Dan Nelson talks about the borough's response to such events and upcoming opportunities for residents to become part of the response team.

Interview highlights-

 

Borough staff are still analyzing their procedures in responding to last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management has finished its draft update to the all-hazard mitigation plan.

The new alert system designed to better inform Kenai Peninsula Borough residents of vital emergency information will have its capacity tested this week, and you’re all invited to participate.

KPB Alerts, the phone, mobile, and text mass notification system, was put in place earlier this year after a large earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska exposed shortcomings in the previous system. One of the last steps is to test the voice-calling capability, which will start on Wednesday.

The Soldotna City Council Wednesday night heard some good news about the Three Friends Dog Park. The news was welcome after vandals spread broken glass in the fenced off area recently.

Upgrades have been done and more will be coming thanks to contributions, cash and otherwise, from several organizations, which park booster Connie Hawker said would be acknowledged at the park on a sign.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake which struck near Kodiak in January generated plenty of tsunami alerts -- though little in the way of actual tsunamis -- throughout coastal communities in the Gulf of Alaska, including here on the Kenai Peninsula.

Unfortunately, many people who needed to be notified of potential doom were not able to be reached because of limitations in the equipment the borough's Office of Emergency Management uses to contact citizens in times of crisis.

Last month’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island meant different things to different people on the Kenai Peninsula, and it all depended on where they lived. In areas closer to the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska, it meant evacuation to high ground, while in the Central Peninsula, it was a midnight diversion, something to post about on Facebook for a few days.

For the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, it was the time to swing into high gear to warn residents in vulnerable areas of possible tsunami danger.