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, June 23, 2019

6/23/19 Swan Lake Fire Update


Firefighters worked with specialized bulldozers to establish direct and indirect control lines on the east and southeastern perimeter. As the winds shifted throughout the afternoon, a few spot fires occurred over the control lines and were contained by ground resources working with helicopters dropping water. The overall strategy is to slow fire progression on the eastern flank and push it towards the mountains to the east as the fire burns in thick black spruce stands that have not burned since the last wildfire in 1947. Near milepost 64 of the Sterling Highway, heavy equipment is being used to construct contingency lines.
In addition to ground crews, aerial resources remain critical in targeted areas to slow fire spread towards the Sterling Highway. Large water dropping aircraft from Canada known as “Scoopers” will assist with firefighting efforts today. These planes are capable of delivering significant amounts of water to support suppression efforts by scooping hundreds of gallons of water from nearby Skilak and Hidden lakes and dropping it along the fire’s edge. Recreationists in these areas should remain alert and vigilant about staying away from the center of the lakes while these aircraft assist the fire crews as they work along the fire’s edge.
Travelers are reminded that smoky conditions could reduce visibility along the Sterling Highway, especially between MP60-70, as winds push the smoke to the south and east. Please remember to drive cautiously, use headlights, and give the right-of-way to any fire traffic in the area.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough has made a fire interactive map available for residents and can be found under Current Situational Reports on the KPB emergency blog at Those accessing the map will find the fire perimeter as well as the land ownership parcels in the Sterling area. This makes it possible to see the distance between the fire and residential areas.  For Kenai Borough emergency information, please contact the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center at 907-262-INFO (4636) between 8am and 8pm.
The Borough also has fire prevention programs in place for community members. More information can be found at, or Wildland Fire - Ready Set Go! program. Residents are encouraged to sign up for KPB Alerts which is a Borough notification system whenever information needs to be rapidly conveyed to the community. Residents can text “KPB” to 99411 to receive a link to sign up on your mobile device.
WEATHER: A warming and drying trend will continue with lower relative humidity and a chance of isolated thunderstorms to the east of the fire. An air quality advisory continues through Monday, June 24.
SAFETY: Motorists are urged to yield to fire apparatus and adhere to traffic signage. Observing the fire from a safe location should be practiced instead of stopping along the highway. For current road conditions visit Supporting agencies are posting fire and smoke-related information, official updates and helpful links at The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) around the fire area is still in effect to support suppression efforts and firefighter safety. Pilots can confirm the current TFR restrictions at Be advised that personal drone operations are not permitted on the refuge.
OBJECTIVE: Fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry are working collaboratively with refuge personnel to manage the fire. The focus of all suppression efforts is to protect all of the values at risk including the community of Sterling and the highway corridor while reducing future wildland fire hazards and enhancing wildlife habitat.
KENAI REFUGE INFORMATION:  Contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or online at

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