Daily Update for July 9, 2019 with attached map and PDFs - Acreage 99,806, Personnel 406, Containment 14%
The Swan Lake Fire burned actively on Monday, continuing to consume unseasonably dry fuels. On the north and east edges, the fire continued to burn through stands of spruce. Alternately, where the fire reached alpine vegetation or patches of aspen and other hardwoods, fire growth slowed. On the south and west flanks, the fire remained within established fire lines and in marshy areas to the east of the East Fork of Moose River.
Firefighters continue to work on the fire, often in remote areas not easily accessed by road or trail. Crews are establishing temporary spike camps in safe locations near the fire. This lets them monitor the fire and take action quickly without requiring time to drive, hike, and/or fly to critical areas. As the fire activity shifts over the landscape, the crews move their spike camps. Food, water, and other supplies are often delivered by helicopter. This dynamic system allows fire personnel to cover large sections of a fire safely and efficiently.
Historic cabins to the north and east of the fire are being evaluated by fire personnel. Appropriate protective measures are being taken around these structures, including reducing flammable vegetation and setting up sprinklers.
A change in the weather is expected to reach the Kenai Peninsula, starting later today. The north winds that have been pushing smoke from the Swan Lake Fire into Cooper Landing and Seward are expected to shift to coming out of the southwest. This should reduce the smoke impacts on these communities and the Sterling Highway. There will also be a slight chance of thunderstorms, probably over the Kenai Mountains. Fire personnel will be watching for storms which bring the potential for lightning and erratic winds. The chance of significant rainfall is low for the rest of this week, but rising humidity should make fine fuels like grasses and twigs harder to burn.
There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, July 10, at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Landing Elementary School.
WEATHER: Tuesday will start out warm and dry before cooler, moister air pushes into the area. Winds will shift to coming from the southwest. There is a chance of thunderstorms, mostly to the east of the fire.
AIR QUALITY: A change in wind direction may provide relief to areas impacted by smoke. Real-time air quality readings are available 24-hours a day at http://tools.airfire.org . Click on the Monitoring PM2.5 tab to find readings. For smoke forecasts from Alaska wildfires, visit UAFSMOKE at http://smoke.alaska.edu.
SAFETY: Along the Sterling Highway, watch for personnel, construction zones, and smoke on the roadway. Please use headlights and caution, especially during the overnight hours. For current road conditions visit http://511.alaska.gov. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has expanded to include the western portion of the Chugach National Forest and still includes the Sterling Highway corridor. Pilots can confirm the current TFR restrictions at http://tfr.faa.gov. Personal drone operation is not permitted on the refuge.
KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: Some facilities in the Skilak Lake recreation area have reopened but others remain closed. For the latest updates please contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or go online at http://kenai.fws.gov.
CHUGACH NATIONAL FOREST: A partial closure has been instituted on the Resurrection Pass Trail. Fire restriction are in effect on the Chugach National Forest. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or some stoves, including charcoal fires, are prohibited. For the latest information on closures and fire restrictions please go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/chugach/news-events.