NOTE:

This blog is maintained as an effort to coordinate and collocate responding agencies' information for easier public access during events on the Kenai Peninsula. The information here is written and provided by the contributing agencies. NOTE: The blog will be updated as the need arises and may be dormant at times.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

8/25/19 5:05 pm Kenai Peninsula Borough Transportation Plan

Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management Director Dan Nelson explains in detail the new transportation plan for the Swan Lake Fire.  The plan was designed to help local traffic get home and avoid long lines of cars,  as well as deal with traffic during evacuations (if they happen).


08/25/19 4:43pm Community Meeting for Swan Lake Fire in Sterling

08/25/19 4:41 pm
A reminder, the Swan Lake Fire is having a community meeting at 6 pm tonight at the Sterling Community Center (35085 Sterling Highway). Members of the incident management team will present an informational update about the fire and will be on hand after to answer questions. The meeting will be broadcast on here on KPB Alerts on Facebook Live.

For a PDF of this flyer to email, print or post: click here 

08/25/19 4:23pm The Sterling Highway is OPEN.

The Sterling Highway is OPEN.
The Sterling Highway is reopen with the use of pilot cars leading one lane of traffic through the Swan Lake Fire area at a time. There active fire along the roadway. Expect smoke, active fire, and fire operations are ongoing.

If you must travel on the highway, please be prepared with water and food. When traffic begins to move once again, please be courteous, drive with headlights on, do not block private driveways, and watch for fire equipment.

Please remember, with the number of vehicles accumulated during the traffic delay, it may take some time for the number of vehicles to dissipate.

8/25/19 4:00 PM Sterling Highway Update - NOT OPEN YET

The Swan Lake Fire is active near the Sterling Highway with aerial resources performing fire suppression efforts. Due to safety, the traffic will remain stopped from MP 53 to 71.

It is anticipated that fire operations will reevaluate the traffic delay in about 30 minutes. Check back for updates.

If you must travel on the highway, please be prepared with water and food. When traffic begins to move once again, please be courteous, drive with headlights on, do not block private driveways, and watch for fire equipment.  Please remember, with the number of vehicles accumulated during the traffic delay, it may take some time for the number of vehicles to dissipate.  

8/25/19 2:45 PM Sterling Highway Update - OPENING SOON

The Sterling Highway is expected to have traffic moving again using a single lane with a pilot car about 3:15 pm this afternoon. The road has been stopped from milepost 53 to Milepost 71.Please remember, with the long lines that have been waiting, things won't move immediately.  Please be patient and drive with headlights on.

8/25/19 2:40 p.m. Cooper Landing and Sterling remain in Ready alert status


Sterling and Cooper Landing remain at the Level 1 Ready alert status with fire activity continuing on the Swan Lake fire. Level 1 READY stage means be ready for POTENTIAL evacuation because there is a fire in your area. It means you should have a plan to transport and care for family members with mobility needs, pets or livestock.

Monitor social media, news and radio for current Ready-Set-Go! (RSG!) information in your area. This is the time to relocate thigs like flammable tanks and supplies from your home and outbuildings. Consider the six “P”s: People, Pets, Pills, Pictures, Papers and your Personal computer, that you will take if you need to leave your home.

The Great Basin Incident Management Team reviews Ready-Set-Go! lines each day to assess current and past levels of fire activity, expected weather patterns, and predicted fire behavior.
A Level 1 (READY) alert is NOT a notice to leave. Visit the KPB blog at www.kpboem.com or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates.


All landlines are automatically registered in the KPB alerts system; however, you must register mobile phones. You can register for KPBalerts by texting KPB to 99411, and follow prompts. If a Level 3 GO! alert is issued, it’s time to evacuate immediately, leave NOW. Please go when you are asked to leave.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough has an interactive map that allows you to see the current fire perimeter. Enter your home address in the search field in the upper left corner of the page to see where you home is in relation to the Swan Lake fire.  Click here to view the Borough interactive map.

For a pdf version of the 2019 Wildland Fire evacuation guide that you can print or email, click here.
 For a pdf version of the map that you can print or email, click here.



08/25/19 2:20 pm THE STERLING HIGHWAY Update - STILL CLOSED

The Swan Lake Fire is making a push along the south side of the Sterling Highway, around the west side of Hidden Lake. There is no threat toward Sterling, Kenai Keys or Cooper Landing at this time. A specialized group that conducts burn out operations have begun working along the highway.

The smoke is very dense and the pilot cars are not able to drive through so traffic remains stopped for now.

It's hoped that the delay is temporary but it could be significant, so please be prepared with water and food. When you do move, be courteous, drive with headlights on, do not block private driveways, and watch for fire equipment. 

8/25/19 12:40 PM Sterling Highway CLOSED

The Sterling Highway is now closed due to smoke and fire activity south of the highway toward Hidden Lake. There is no estimated time for it to open. Please check back and we will post the status.regularly

08/25/19 12:25 pm Swan Lake Fire Operational Update

The Swan Lake Fire is making a push south of the Sterling Highway, around the west side of Hidden Lake. There is not threat toward Sterling, Kenai Keys or Cooper Landing at this time. A specialized group that conducts burn out operations has been called in to assess the value of doing a burnout south of the highway to limit the fires spread. If it's done, it is expected to increase fire behavior and is likely to close the road soon (est 12:45p).

As a reminder, please drive with your lights on and be courteous and do not block private driveways.

8/25/19 11:00 am Sterling Highway Update - STILL OPEN

Sterling Highway Saturday afternoon Photo:Karen Miranda
The Sterling Highway is still open but there are reports of very heavy smoke between miles 71 and
53.

We are still hearing there may be traffic delays for smoke or fire activity so plan accordingly and take food and snacks. We still advise to avoid travel if possible.

Drive with headlights on and reduced speed in smoky areas.

08/25/19 10:20am Swan Lake Fire Update

A community meeting will be held tonight at the Sterling Community Center at 6:00 pm. 
For a PDF of this flyer to email, print or post: click here

On Saturday afternoon, the fire was active approximately 1.5 miles south of the Sterling Highway, within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Fixed wing aircraft took action and dropped water on this area, to minimize fire growth. The acreage growth from yesterday is 31 acres, although the recent infrared flight was likely impacted by cloud cover. A crew was assigned to operations on Saturday to Skilak Lake Road and Sterling Highway through the night. The crew will repeat this patrol on Sunday night. 

Temporary delays of the Sterling Highway remain possible. Closure information is available at 511.alaska.gov, kpoem.com, and on Facebook at KPB Alerts. A travel plan for these delays is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y6s3n5jh.  Heavy firefighting equipment will be on the highway. Driving with more caution than normal while on the highway is advised.

Sterling: Towards Sterling, the southwestern edge of the fire remains staffed with firefighters and is secure. Sterling will still continue to be impacted by smoke.  Structures that are being protected in this area remain secure.

Cooper Landing: Crews have been working to establish firelines in the Fuller Lake Trail area to secure the east flank north of the highway. Boats continue to be used to shuttle crews across the Kenai River to reinforce control lines on the south side of the river in the Surprise Creek area, there firefighters have a mile of progress to date. While the threat of a jokulhaups (glacial outburst flood) remains, local boat operators feel that firefighting efforts are not likely to be impacted adversely by flooding. Firefighters continue to work to improve lines north of the Sterling Highway, and to provide structure protection along the Resurrection Trail. Crews continue to work to minimize impact to the community and roadways.

Weather: A weak low pressure system will be approaching the Gulf of Alaska, bringing shifting winds out of the northwest to out of the southwest. Smoke will remain in the fire area on Sunday, especially in Cooper Landing. Clouds are anticipated to increase through the day. While a slight chance of light and isolated showers is possible, the chance for a wetting rain remains unlikely. The weather continues to be dry, with above average temperatures.

Evacuations and Closures: Cooper Landing and the Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road remain in a READY status since 08/18/19 when the Swan Lake Fire activity increased. A READY notification is NOT a notice to leave. This notification means that you must be ready for potential evacuation if there is a fire in your local area. Assist family members with special needs, arrange to move mobile property (boats, trailers, ATV), and prepare pets or livestock. Check for further information on www.kpboem.com, or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates.

Closures in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge include the entire length of Skilak Lake Road and all adjacent recreational trails and day use areas. The Russian River Ferry is closed. The Upper Kenai River between the Cooper Landing State Boat Launch and where the river enters Skilak Lake is closed to all public use. Closures on the Chugach National Forest include the Russian River Campground, K’Beq Day Use Area, Russian River Falls, and the Russian Lakes Trail from the Russian River Campground south including Barber Cabin. Closures remain in place on Resurrection Pass Trail from the junction of Devil’s Pass south to the Sterling Highway, including the following public use cabins: West Swan Lake, Swan Lake, Trout, Romig, and Juneau.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/5040 NOTAM). The TFR includes unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as well. Flying drones near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters as a result of a mid-air collision with tactical firefighting aircraft.

For a PDF of this update to email, print or post: click here  

08/25/19 10:00am Alaska South Smoke Outlook for 08/25 & 08/26

For a PDF Version to email, print or post;
click here
Special Statement The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory in effect through Monday afternoon for the Susitna Valley, Kenai Peninsula, and includes the Copper River Valley.

Fire
Southcentral Alaska is being impacted by the smoke from multiple wildfires in the surrounding area. A listing of activity for specific fires is available at: https://fire.ak.blm.gov/, AICC Situation Report.
 

Smoke
Susitna Valley:
Smoke will be pushed north as winds shift to the south today and bring smoke from Swan Lake. These impacts will extend up the Alaska Range. A wind switch back to the north tomorrow afternoon will move smoke south again. 

Anchorage Area: Smoke from Swan Lake has already moved into the area with the wind shift to the south. Smoke impacts may be moderated a bit today by stronger Turnagain Arm winds.

Daily average surface smoke for Sunday 8/25

Kenai Peninsula:
Winds shifting to the south should help clear smoke out of Seward and may improve air quality in Cooper Landing a bit. Sterling will be seeing the bulk of the smoke today with some being pushed towards Soldotna and Kenai later in the afternoon. Winds shift to the northwest again midday tomorrow and push smoke back to the south and east.
 

Health
If you begin to notice health effects from smoke, you are encouraged to follow the "actions to protect yourself" listed below.

Daily Average surface smoke for Saturday 8/26/2019



Disclaimer: 
This forecast is based on fine particulates only; ozone is not included. Forecasts may be wrong; use at own risk. Use caution as conditions can change quickly. See your health professional as needed. Smoke sensitive groups should take appropriate precautions.
 




Additional Links
Alaska DEC Air Quality Advisories -- http://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/…/airtoolsweb/Advisories/ 
Anchorage Municipal Air Quality Program --
http://www.muni.org/…/a…/environment/airq/Pages/default.aspx
Alaska Division of Public Health -- http://dhss.alaska.gov/…/Epi/eph/Pages/wildfire/default.aspx
Issued by USFS Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program -- www.wildlandfiresmoke.net
Alaska South Updates -- tools.airfire.org/outlooks/AlaskaSouth
Smoke and Health Info -- www.airnow.gov  

08/25/19 9:24am LIVE Swan Lake Fire Morning Update from the Incident Command Post

Crews continue to staff and secure the southwestern edge near Sterling. On the East flank of the fire, crews are working to establish fire lines in the Fuller Lake Trail area north of the highway.
 
To view the video on the KPB Alerts on Facebook; Click Here

08/25/19 8:45 am Caribou Lake Fire Update

Two additional crews arrived to assist with suppression on the Caribou Lake Fire Saturday. The fire behavior was influenced by wind and terrain features during the day; however, the fire only increased 5 acres in size. The fire is currently 900 acres and 20 percent contained. The Great Basin Incident Management Team 1, Alaska Division of Forestry, and Kachemak Emergency Services held a community meeting at the McNeil Canyon School in Fritz Creek to provide an update on the Caribou Lake, North Fork, and Swan Lake Fires. The meeting can be viewed on KPB Alerts (@KPBAlerts) Facebook page.

On Sunday, firefighters will continue with the full containment strategy by completing control line utilizing natural barriers where possible. North to northwest winds could cause an increase in fire activity on the east and southeast portions of the fire. Additional crews will be arriving on the fire to aid in the construction of fire line and help secure the fire’s edge. Firefighters will continue to utilize aviation resources as conditions and visibility allow.

Weather: On Sunday, winds will prevail from the south-southwest as a weak low-pressure center passes to the south over the Gulf of Alaska. Cloud cover will increase through the day with some afternoon cumulus development possible across the mountains. Temperatures will be in the low-mid 60s. A slight chance for light and isolated showers is possible, but wetting rains are unlikely.

Expect long delays on the Sterling Highway from MP 53 to MP 71 due to fire activity and smoke impacts. Drive with headlights on and yield to fire vehicles and first responders. Travel is not advised Sunday 08/25/19. For the latest road conditions, visit 511.alaska.gov.

Evacuations and Closures: None

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Caribou Lake Fire (9/7506 NOTAM). The TFR includes unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as well. Flying drones near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters as a result of a mid-air collision with tactical firefighting aircraft.

North Fork Fire Update: The Alaska Division of Forestry (AK DOF), Kenai-Kodiak Area, announced that North Fork Fire was 100 percent contained on Saturday evening. Crews mopped up, or removed all remaining heat, 200 feet in from the fire perimeter on this 59-acre fire. This will be the last update on the North Fork Fire unless significant changes occur.


For a PDF version of the update to print, email, or post; Click Here
For a PDF Version of the map to print, email, or post: Click Here

8/25/19 8:30 am Swan Lake Fire Map Update

Good morning, here is the map for the Swan Lake fire for Sunday, August 25. Firefighters will soon be heading to their morning briefings to receive today's assignments. A night shift worked last night, patrolling Sterling Highway and Skilak Lake Road. The fire acreage grew by 31 acres over the previous day's map, however, last night’s infrared flight was impacted by cloud cover.


For a high quality PDF version of the map, Click Here

8/25/19 7:30 am Sterling Highway Update

The Sterling Highway is open this morning.  We still believe there are likely to be long traffic delays due to fire activity much of the day so if you need to travel do so soon and then stay off the highway. Be cautious around fire equipment and drive with headlights on at all times.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

8/24/19 10:00 pm Sterling Highway Update

Saturday evening construction traffic delay at milepost 68 on the Sterling Highway.
The Great Basin Incident Management Team on the Swan Lake Fire Near Soldotna is anticipating a very active fire
day tomorrow. 

There is a high expectation that this will result in smoke on the road or increased firefighting activity which will likely shut down the Sterling Highway for much of the day between Mile post 53 and Milepost 71.

It is advisable stay off the highway Sunday, August 25th.

8/24/19 9:30 p.m. Impacts to Sterling Highway travel expected next week


Travel on the Sterling Highway between MP 53-71 may be dramatically impacted next week (mileposts have been updated for this plan). There are unburned areas south of the Sterling Highway in the Skilak Loop area, so fire managers are assessing the best time to proactively burn these areas when conditions are favorable. By planning ahead for this and informing the public of the possible traffic delay, will allow motorists to plan and avoid a sudden disruption to travel plans.  

For a pdf of this map that you can print or email, click here. 


08/24/19 Caribou Fire Community Meeting Photo



Fire officials from the Caribou Lake, Swan Lake and North Fork Fires provided an update about each fire to community members in Fritz Creek on Saturday afternoon. The meeting was live streamed and recorded on KPBAlerts (@KPBAlerts) Facebook page.

8/24/19 8:10 p.m. Sterling Highway update

The Sterling Highway remains open at this time. If you must travel, please allow plenty of time, have a full tank of fuel, and bring enough water, food and other essentials.

Be aware that fire conditions are still active, and smoke may be heavy at times. Always drive with your headlights on and in a defensive manner. Keep a look out for our firefighters and help us keep them safe.

08/24/19 1030a Engineer Public Use Cabin remains unharmed by Swan Lake Fire!

Via Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
"Good news from our fire crews at 10:30am this morning in the Skilak area...Engineer Public Use Cabin remains unharmed by Swan Lake Fire! Kelly Lake and Upper Ohmer Lake Cabins are also still standing.

Expect a similar smoke column from the Skilak area again today. Note that the smoke is coming from inside Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area and not from Fire growth to the east or west."

Click the here for Facebook video

8/24/19 5:45 pm Swan Lake Fire Update

Smoke along the Highway at the Watson Lake area 8-24-19 Karen Miranda/KNWR
The Sterling Highway is still open.  Fire managers are standing by in anticipation of smoke beginning to cover the highway.  If this happens, or if fire behavior changes, traffic along the road could still experience delays so please, be prepared with water and snacks.  

If there is smoke please use your headlights and be cautious around fire equipment.  Please do NOT stop along the highway for pictures.
Smoke along the Sterling Highway 8/24/19 - Photo Karen Miranda/KNWR
Smoke along the Sterling Highway 8/24/19 - Photo Karen Miranda/KNWR

08/24/19 4:57p Kenai River Waters Continue to Rise

Reminder: The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Snow River, Kenai Lake and the Kenai River from Cooper Landing to Skilak Lake.

The Snow Glacier Dam has been releasing as of August 21, 2019. A glacier dam release, Also known as a jökulhlaup (pronounced yokel-lop; literally "glacial run") describes a sudden water release from a glacier or glacier-dammed lake. They occur on glaciers around the world and vary immensely in side. They generally recur at intervals ranging from less than a year to several years.

082419 Alaska State Park Cooper Landing Boat Launch. Photo: Marcus Mueller, KPB Land Manager 

Water levels on the Snow River are steadily rising and are reflective of previous release events that average of every two years. Expect significant water level increases on Snow River and Kenai Lake through the weekend. Water may continue to rise on Snow River, Kenai Lake and the Kenai River through the weekend and early next week. Water will likely rise to the point of flooding the Primrose campground and other low lying areas. Water levels on the Kenai River below Skilak Lake will likely see a more moderate increase to bankfull conditions by early next week.

You know enough to pay attention, but who really knows what is what between an alert, watch, advisory and a warning!  
Advisory – An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. Advisories are for "less serious" conditions than warnings that may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.

Watch – A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens and they should listen for later information and possible warnings especially when planning travel or outdoor activities.

Warning – A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.

Please drive with caution. If you come upon a roadway that appears to be flooded, DON’T try to drive through it. If you come across barricades blocking off a flooded section of the road, DON'T try to drive around them. Turn around and find a detour. It’s closed for a reason. Avoid flooded areas and avoid hydroplaning when you're driving on wet roads with standing water. Don’t destroy your car or risk your life due to impatience.

08/24/19 4:15 pm - Swan Lake Update

A smoke column is currently building and is visible from Sterling. Ground fire is currently visible along Sterling Highway on the western portion of the fire. The fire is active with trees torching within the fire perimeter.

08/24/2019 @ 3:35 PM A potential traffic delay is expected on the Sterling Highway

.A potential delay due to smoke impacts is expected on the Sterling Highway from MP 53 to MP 71. Travel is not advised. Listen to 920AM or 105.3FM for updates. We will continue to provide updates as conditions change

08/24/19 2:22pm Flood Advisory Update: Snow River, Kenai Lake and the Kenai River from Cooper Landing to Skilak Lake

Reminder: The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Snow River, Kenai Lake and the Kenai River from Cooper Landing to Skilak Lake.

The Snow Glacier Dam has been releasing as of August 21, 2019. Water levels on the Snow River are steadily rising and are reflective of previous release events that average of every two years. Expect significant water level increases on Snow River and Kenai Lake through the weekend. Water may continue to rise on Snow River, Kenai Lake and the Kenai River through the weekend and early next week. Water will likely rise to the point of flooding the Primrose campground and other low lying areas. Water levels on the Kenai River below Skilak Lake will likely see a more moderate increase to bankfull conditions by early next week.



082419 1200p Kenai River in Cooper Landing. Photo Credit: David Story

You know enough to pay attention, but who really knows what is what between an alert, watch, advisory and a warning!  
Advisory – An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. Advisories are for "less serious" conditions than warnings that may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.

Watch – A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens and they should listen for later information and possible warnings especially when planning travel or outdoor activities.

Warning – A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.

Please drive with caution. If you come upon a roadway that appears to be flooded, DON’T try to drive through it. If you come across barricades blocking off a flooded section of the road, DON'T try to drive around them. Turn around and find a detour. It’s closed for a reason. Avoid flooded areas and avoid hydroplaning when you're driving on wet roads with standing water. Don’t destroy your car or risk your life due to impatience.

08/24/19 2:00 pm Swan Lake Fire Sterling Highway Corridor Travel Plan

The Swan Lake Fire Liaison Officers, in cooperation with the Alaska State Troopers, Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management, and the Alaska Department of Transportation, have developed a travel plan for the Sterling Highway Corridor.
This plan will be presented at the upcoming Swan Lake Fire Community Meetings:
Saturday, August 24th at 6:00 pm
Cooper Landing School
19030 Bean Creek Road
Cooper Landing, AK

Sunday, August 25th at 6:00 pm Sterling Community Center
35085 Sterling Highway (83.5)
Sterling, AK

The travel plan is reflected in a map which will be posted online when its complete and approved by all parties. This may be after tonight's meeting.

08/24/19 1:18pm Reminder Caribou Lake Community Meeting Saturday, Aug 24 @3pm

There will be a community meeting about the Caribou Lake Fire today, Saturday, August 24th 3:00p at McNeil Canyon Elementary School

The meeting will be the best place to receive information regarding the fire, road conditions, Ready.Set.Go Levels, and any other Caribou Lake Fire concerns. 

We will be live streaming the meeting here: KPBALERTS via Facebook
For a PDF version to email, print or post, click here

8/24/19 11:30 am Swan Lake Fire Operational Update

8/24/19 11:30 am Swan Lake Fire Operational Update
Kelly Lake and Engineer Lake Cabins are both still standing and intact. Firefighters have pumps and sprinklers running around the Upper Ohmer Lake Cabin.

08/24/19 11:04 am Two Community Meetings for Swan Lake Fire in Cooper Landing & Sterling

There will be TWO community meetings about the Swan Lake Fire.
  • Saturday, August 24 for Cooper Landing Residents at the Cooper Landing School - 6:00 pm
  • Sunday, August 25 at the Sterling Community Center - 6:00 pm
These meetings will be the best place to receive information regarding the fire, road conditions, Ready.Set.Go Levels, and any other Swan Lake Fire concerns. 

Please attend a meeting that is closest to you to avoid adding traffic congestion on the highway. If you do not have to travel the Sterling Hwy, please do not attempt it. 
We will be live streaming the meetings here: KPBALERTS via Facebook


For a PDF of this flyer to email, print or post: click here 

8/24/19 10:52 a.m.. Swan Lake Fire morning update


For a version of the update you can print or email, click here. 



Fire Size: 148,298 acres
Objectives Met: 20%

A community meeting will be held at the Cooper Landing School on Saturday at 6:00 pm, and at the Sterling Community Center on Sunday at 6:00 pm.

Early Friday afternoon, fire activity picked up within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Helicopters and water scoopers were used on the fire area, which forced the temporary delay of Sterling Highway to provide for public and firefighter safety. Please be advised that firefighting operations may necessitate additional delay of the highway through the weekend. Highway information is available at akfireinfo.com, kpboem.com, and 511.alaska.gov. More visible smoke and fire activity is expected today, primarily south of the Sterling Highway within the recreation area. Three additional crews are arriving today to work on the fire.

Sterling: The southwest corner of the fire towards Sterling remains staffed and secure.

Cooper Landing: Direct fireline will be constructed toward Surprise Creek, to limit fire spread towards the Russian River. Along the Resurrection Trail, crews will work to improve contingency lines north of Sterling Highway and to identify control lines north and south of the highway to limit movement to the east. Please be advised that the Ready and Set lines on today’s map have been updated to provide for more timely notifications to the community.

Weather: Saturday’s weather conditions will be similar to those experienced on Friday with north to northwest winds, above average temperatures and similar relative humidity levels. These winds will aid in transporting the smoke plume back towards the south to southeast, which is anticipated to improve smoke conditions today in Sterling. While some portions of the fire experienced slight rains Friday evening, there remains only slight chances for a stray shower through the weekend with little to no wetting rains anticipated.

Evacuations and Closures: The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management has placed Cooper Landing and the Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road in a READY status on Sunday (08/18/19) due to increased fire activity of the Swan Lake Fire. A READY notification is NOT a notice to leave. This notification means that you must be ready for potential evacuation if there is a fire in your local area. Assist family members with special needs, arrange to move mobile property (boats, trailers, ATV), and prepare pets or livestock. Monitor social media, news and radio for information. Check for further information on www.kpboem.com, or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4636) for updates.

Closures in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge include the entire length of Skilak Lake Road and all adjacent recreational trails and day use areas. The Russian River Ferry is closed. The Upper Kenai River between the Cooper Landing State Boat Launch and where the river enters Skilak Lake is closed to all public use. Closures on the Chugach National Forest include the Russian River Campground, K’Beq Day Use Area, Russian River Falls, and the Russian Lakes Trail from the Russian River Campground south including Barber Cabin. Closures remain in place on Resurrection Pass Trail from the junction of Devil’s Pass south to the Sterling Highway. This closure includes the following public use cabins: West Swan Lake, Swan Lake, Trout, Romig, and Juneau.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR is in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/5040 NOTAM). The TFR includes unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as well. Flying drones near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters as a result of a mid-air collision with tactical firefighting aircraft.

Resources: Hand Crews: 13, Helicopters: 4, Watertenders: 6,  Engines: 11,  Dozers: 4
Total Personnel: 483
Location: 5 miles northeast  of the Sterling, AK
Started: 06/05/2019
Cause: Lightning
Management: Great Basin National Incident Management Team 1
For more information:
Kenai Peninsula Borough:
http://kpboem.com/
AK Fire Info:
https://akfireinfo.com/
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6387/
Information Line: 208-391-3488
Air Quality: https://www.purpleair.com/map?#10.18/60.4725/-149.7468

For a pdf version of the map you can print or email, click here. 

8/24/19 10:00 am Caribou Lake Fire and North Fork Fire Update


A community meeting will be held at the McNeil Canyon School (52188 East End Rd, Fritz Creek) on Saturday, August 24 at 3:00 PM.


For a pdf version of this map to print or email, click here. 

For a pdf version of the update to print or email, click here.


The Caribou Lake Fire is currently 895 acres and 20 percent contained. Fire behavior was moderate on Friday. With the persistent drought conditions, the fire was burning intermittently in the dry grasses and moss, but was not as active in the black spruce. Two water dropping airplanes, called Fire Bosses, continued to support the firefighters on the ground with water drops as needed.

On Saturday, north to northwest winds may increase fire activity on the east and southeast portions of the fire; however, a fire break constructed on the east side of the fire has been preventing the fire’s spread in that direction. Firefighters will continue with the full containment strategy by completing control lines around the fire perimeter, utilizing natural barriers where possible. Additional crews will be arriving at the Caribou Lake Fire to continue building fire line around the fire’s perimeter. Firefighting aircraft will support firefighting efforts on the ground as conditions and visibility allow.

Weather: Temperatures will remain above seasonal averages. On Saturday, the forecast calls for sunny skies, with a high near 60. North to northwest winds around 5 mph are expected to expected to increase to 5-10 mph in the evening. Conditions will be similar again on Sunday. There is a slight chance for showers through the weekend; however, no wetting rains expected.

A Dense Smoke Advisory is in effect through 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 25, 2019 for the interior Kenai Peninsula. A Dense Smoke Advisory means area fires will create smoke, which can limit visibility. For the latest road conditions, visit http://511.alaska.gov.

Evacuations and Closures: None

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): None

North Fork Fire Update: Containment on the North Fork Fire increased to 90 percent on Friday night. The fire remains at 59 acres. The Alaska Division of Forestry (AK DOF), Kenai-Kodiak Area, continues to manage the North Fork Fire, which is located off the North Fork Road in Diamond Ridge near Anchor Point.

On Friday, crews continued to mop up the perimeter. The fire was primarily smoldering in the surface fuels, with some limited single tree torching inside the fire perimeter during the afternoon. On Saturday, firefighters will continue to secure the containment line and remove any heat within 150 feet of the fire’s perimeter. The goal for Saturday is to have 100 percent containment by the end of the day.

8/24/19 8:16 am Smoke Outlook for 8/24 - 8/25

For a PDF of the outlook to print or email, CLICK HERE

Special Statement
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory in effect through Monday afternoon for the Susitna Valley, Kenai Peninsula, and now includes the Copper River Valley.

Fire
Southcentral Alaska is being impacted by the smoke from multiple wildfires in the surrounding area. A listing of activity for specific fires is available at: https://fire.ak.blm.gov/, AICC Situation Report.

Smoke
Susitna Valley: Air quality should remain Good to Moderate today but will decrease with the
southerly wind shift Sunday. This impact may extend north of Talkeetna.

Anchorage Area: Smoke lingered for much of the day yesterday but moved out in the afternoon with the NW wind. Air quality should remain Moderate today but will decrease tomorrow as southerly winds push Swan Lake smoke north again.

Daily Average surface smoke for Saturday 8/24
Kenai Peninsula: Today and tonight the eastern side of the Peninsula will continue to be the most intensely impacted by smoke. This may improve a bit Sunday as the wind shifts to the south. The western side will see generally Moderate air quality today but tomorrow will see periods of decreasing air quality as the smoke moves north.

Health
If you begin to notice health effects from smoke, you are encouraged to follow the "actions to protect yourself" listed below.

Disclaimer: 
This forecast is based on fine particulates only; ozone is not included. Forecasts may be wrong; use at own risk. Use caution as conditions can change quickly. See your health professional as needed. Smoke sensitive groups should take appropriate precautions.

Additional Links
Alaska DEC Air Quality Advisories -- http://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/…/airtoolsweb/Advisories/ 
Anchorage Municipal Air Quality Program --
http://www.muni.org/…/a…/environment/airq/Pages/default.aspx
Daily average surface smoke for Sunday 8/25
Alaska Division of Public Health -- http://dhss.alaska.gov/…/Epi/eph/Pages/wildfire/default.aspx

Issued by USFS Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program -- www.wildlandfiresmoke.net
Alaska South Updates -- tools.airfire.org/outlooks/AlaskaSouth
Smoke and Health Info -- www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index

08/24/19 6:48 am Swan Lake Fire Map

Below is today's map for the Swan Lake Fire, which shows that the fire grew by over 4,000 acres. Some rain was received last night in the Soldotna area, which has cleared the air. Firefighters will be heading soon to this morning's briefing to receive today's assignments.
There is a public meeting scheduled for tonight at 6 pm for Cooper Landing. The exact location still needs to be verified so please check back.
For a high quality version of this map that can be emailed or printed, click here

8/24/19 7:30 Am Sterling Highway Update

Swan Lake Fire 8/23/19 Jay Walter/DOF
As far as we know the Sterling Highway remains open this morning.  We have not been able to verify it this morning, but the status on 511 Alaska shows it open.  The Troopers have not been able to verify one way or another.

Assuming it is open, its likely to be very smoky this morning so drive with caution and your headlights on.  If you haven't gotten on the road yet, there is a lot going on near the highway so be aware that traffic could be delayed at any time and be prepared with snacks and water

Friday, August 23, 2019

8/23/19 UPDATED 8:45 pm Swan Lake Fire

Pyrocumulus from the Swan Lake Fire
The Sterling Highway is still open at 7:45 pm.

Fire Operations people are reporting a lot of activity on the Swan Lake Fire this afternoon primarily in the area north of Engineer Lake.  The western perimeter toward Sterling has not had much activity today since the winds have pushed the fire to the east.

There was also activity around Jean Lake and crews made some progress to the east where the fire has crossed Jim's Landing. We don't have any more specific information about that eastern perimeter.

The large pyrocumulus you can see over the fire is in the area west of hidden lake and north of Engineer Lake. A pyrocumulus cloud forms from rising air that results from intense heating of the surface by phenomena such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions. A big fire produces strong upward moving air currents that carry water vapor and ash upward

8/23/19 7:00 p.m. Caribou Lake Fire Afternoon Update

CL-215 dropping water on the Caribou Lake Fire. Taken
by Jay Walter/DOF
Winds were light on the Caribou Lake Fire today. Based on reports from firefighters at the Fire this afternoon, the fire was burning intermittently in the grasses and moss, but was not as active in the black spruce. 
Aircraft continue to support the firefighters on the ground as needed with water drops.
CL-215 dropping water on the Caribou Lake Fire. Taken
by Jay Walter/DOF


Winds are forecast to increase through the weekend, so firefighters and aviation resources are taking advantage of the current conditions to establish and secure control lines around the fire’s edge. 

8/23/19 Scooper Planes Drop Water on the Swan Lake Fire on Friday

The Sterling Highway has seen a lot of activity today as portions of the Swan Lake Fire flared up.
CL-215 Scooper plane
The two fingers south of the Highway, one along the western edge and one that crosses over Jim's Landing put up sizeable plumes. 

The highway was open and closed much of the day but opened again at 5:55 pm and remains open now. The flareups were dealt with by CL-215's, water scooping aircraft, filling out of Skilak Lake.

Below is a video of  CL-215's dropping water on the Swan Lake Fire today.  The first plane that drops nothing is the lead plane that guides the CL-215's into the right pathway over the fire.  The lead plane is followed by  four scooper planes dropping water.  Thank you to Jay Walter in a Alaska Division of Forestry air attack aircraft, for shooting the video. Air attack can be fixed wing or helicopter, but is  "eyes in the sky" like air traffic control when a fire has many airplanes flying.

08/23/19 6:00pm Governor Dunleavy Issues Disaster Declaration for McKinley, Deshka Landing, and Kenai Peninsula Wildfires


For Immediate Release                                                                         Media Contact: Matt Shuckerow
907-744-2771
matt.shuckerow@alaska.gov
19-087


Governor Dunleavy Issues Disaster Declaration for McKinley, Deshka Landing, and Kenai Peninsula Wildfires

Releases individual and public assistance for lost homes, personal belongings and public infrastructure

Friday, August 23, 2019 (Palmer) – Governor Michael J. Dunleavy today issued a Disaster Declaration for the Matanuska Susitna Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough for impacts from the McKinley, Deshka Landing, and Swan Lake wildfires.

The wildfires have damaged or destroyed an estimated 83 structures, resulted in mandatory evacuation of approximately 400 residents, and caused intermittent travel delays along the Sterling and Parks Highways and for rail traffic along the Alaska Railroad. The scope of the damage is not yet fully realized due to active fire suppression efforts. However, substantial damage to private homes, public facilities, and communications and utility lines are anticipated.

The response to the wildfires has been hampered by conditions affecting the entire southcentral portion of the state, such as drought and record dry fuels, strong winds, and low humidity.

“In a short amount of time, these wildfires have already cost dozens of Alaskan families everything they own. Many homes, personal belongings, and businesses are completely gone, and the disruption brought to their lives is unimaginable,” said Governor Michael Dunleavy. “This declaration frees up financial assistance to help the victims of these devastating fires begin to rebuild their lives as quickly as possible.”

“The Governor’s declaration activates Alaska’s Public Assistance, Individual Assistance and Temporary Housing programs,” said Brig. Gen. Torrence Saxe, Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Additionally, the National Guard, and all of DMVA, will continue to support the well-executed fire response.”

“The Division of Forestry, and our non-government partners, have been doing an excellent job supporting the extended efforts of our local jurisdictions,” said Director Michael Sutton, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “The disaster declaration will provide relief for the survivors with fire related damages, and reimbursement for eligible emergency response costs that our partners have incurred.”

The State of Alaska Public Assistance program is designed to help communities, government organizations, and certain non-profits make repairs to utilities, public buildings, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure damaged by the declared event.

The State of Alaska Individual Assistance program is designed to provide grant funding to individuals and families for damages to their real property and personal property, as well as medical expenses that are a direct result of the disaster event. In addition, the Individual Assistance program can provide temporary housing to individuals and families that cannot return to their homes.

Residents and affected business owners will be notified of how and where they can apply for assistance in the upcoming days.

For a PDF version of this document to print or email: Click Here



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