The East Fork fire is estimated to be 1410 acres. A flight to get more accurate mapping and acreage is planned for today, if the weather permits. The fire remains approximately 4.5 miles north of the Sterling Highway and 3.5 miles east of the nearest residential area.

Fire officials give a fire overview and explain the new plan being implemented. Photo Credit: Brenda Ahlberg

The public meeting that was held in Sterling last night was well attended and the fire management plan was well received. A huge thanks to the community members that attended and offered their support and appreciation. We would also like to thank all the cooperating agencies and entities that continue to offer their support and assistance as we find the best way to manage the fire and work to keep both our communities and firefighters safe.

The fire management plan that has been accepted and approved will clean up a continuous stand of black spruce that poses a constant threat to the nearest community. It will also open up previous caribou and moose habitat. The plan involves firefighters building a fire break from the southwest perimeter of the fire south to the Enstar pipeline. The pipeline is underground in that area and the release valves are fire proof. Where the pipeline is buried there is a 30-foot-wide clearing that will be used as a fire break. If the weather cooperates fire personnel will burn from the fire breaks to the north/northwest, cleaning out all possible fuels between the existing fire perimeter and the fire breaks. The fire will be left to continue to burn to the northeast for as long as mother nature allows. Of course, fire officials will monitor it closely. If the weather does not cooperate and allow for a good clean burn, then the fire breaks will be in place to burn it at a later date.

The current and proposed burns lie within a limited protection area of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The limited area is near a full protection area that includes many residents. The Alaska Division of Forestry is assisting with firefighting efforts and coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the fire for ecological benefits in the refuge.

There are 126 firefighters currently assigned to the fire. In addition to the ground personnel, 2 large water scooping CL-415 aircraft located at the Kenai airport are still assigned to the fire. There are additional tankers available in state, if needed. Three helicopters continue to assist with bucket drops as well as personnel shuttles and sling loads of supplies.

Fire officials give a fire overview and explain the new plan being implemented. Photo Credit: Brenda Ahlberg

The public is asked to please steer clear of crews working in the area and be aware of the potential for aircraft using Skilak Lake to scoop water.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) has been put in place over the fire and pilots should check with the Federal Aviation Administration before flying in the area. More information on the TFR is available at

For more information, contact Alaska Division of Forestry public information officer Celeste Prescott at 907-244-9376. Information about the fire is also being posted on and