Location: 5 miles northeast of Sterling, AK
Size: 163,714 acres Containment: 42% Personnel: 323
Current Status: On the southwest side of the fire crews continued to cut fire weakened trees and chip up brush along the Skilak Road. In addition, rehabilitation and repair work was started along a dozer containment line. The south side of the fire was patrolled and monitored. Over on the southeastern side of the firefighters returned to the fire lines where heat had been found a few days ago near the Fuller Lakes Trail and Trout Lake. The fire crews restarted their efforts to cool down those areas of heat and work on fire line construction. The Structure Protection crews continued to work on improving defensible space in and around Cooper Landing. Rain showers, cloud cover, and higher humidity kept fire behavior low throughout the day.
Planned Actions: Firefighters will continue to work along the southwestern side of the fire cutting fire weakened trees and chipping brush along the Skilak Road. The line on the south side of the fire will be monitored throughout the day but remains unstaffed. Fire crews will return to the areas where heat has been found the past few days and continue to work directly on cooling those spots along the southeastern side of the fire. The weather predicted for tomorrow will be drier than the past couple of days but still cooler with higher humidity. The next round of weather on Sunday could bring another chance of rain and cooler temperatures. Fire behavior is expected to remain low during this time although the heavy fuels and ground duff layers continue to hold heat.
Key Messages: The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) area over the fire has been reduced in size. Please review the new TFR (9/9687 NOTAM) if you plan to fly near the fire area and stay clear of the restricted airspace. When traveling on the reopened section of the Skilak Road to the reopened Lower Skilak area and boat launch, visitors need to be aware that hazardous conditions exist in the burned areas that can be difficult to see. Standing trees can be weakened as the fire burns the organic duff layer surrounding their roots. Any amount of wind will blow these trees down. In addition, the fire has burned very deep in some places, leaving hot ash pits behind. Please remember to keep pets and children close at hand and out of the burned area to prevent injuries.
Restrictions: An area closure remains in effect for a channel on the south side of the Kenai River from approximately River Mile 69.5 to River Mile 71.5. The Kenai River remains closed beyond Jim’s Landing to Skilak Lake. The Lower Skilak campground remains closed. All the lands off the Lower Skilak boat access road, including Marsh Lake Trailhead remain closed. Additionally all refuge lands that have been burned are closed to public access. Information on these closures is available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6387/.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): The TFR in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire has been adjusted as of 9/14/2019 (9/9687 NOTAM) and will lesson impacts to local aviation operators. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!
Cooperating Agencies: US Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Alaska Division of Forestry, US Forest Service, Alaska State Parks, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Central Emergency Services, Cooper Landing Volunteer Fire Department, Alaska State Troopers, National Guard, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.