Alaska Life Hack: Swan Lake Fire update, road advice - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 14, 2019
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Alaska Life Hack: Swan Lake Fire update, road advice

The Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula has burned 163,714 acres, is 48 percent contained, and has 305 firefighting personnel assigned to it.

A Community Meeting about the Swan Lake Fire is scheduled for 6 pm on Monday, Sept. 16, at the Cooper Landing School, 19030 Bean Creek Road, Cooper Landing.

Fire operations personnel and local agency representatives will be in attendance to provide updates regarding the fire and be available to answer questions following the updates.

Fire crews made good progress working along Skilak Road cutting trees that were weakened by fire, and chipping brush. Aircraft patrolled the south side of the fire on Saturday.

Firefighters continued to cool hot spots and mop up along the southeastern side of the fire near the Fuller Lakes Trail, where hot spots have been found.

Structure protection crews chipped wood along Bean Creek Road and started working near the Russian Gap and in and around Cooper Landing.

The weather was briefly drier and warmer which caused a little more smoke in the air however, fire behavior remained low due to the recent moisture and humidity.

Planned Actions: The south side of the fire will continue to be monitored by aircraft. Firefighters will work along Skilak Road cutting fire weakened trees and chipping brush.

On the southeastern side of the fire crews will return to the Fuller Lakes Trail area where heat has been found over the past few days and continue to work on cooling the hot spots.

The weather forecast includes rain starting by late morning over the fire area and cooler temperatures.

Fire behavior is expected to remain low during the day although the heavy fuels and ground duff layers continue to hold heat.

 When traveling on the reopened section of Skilak Road to the reopened Lower Skilak area and boat launch, officials say 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. Remember to keep pets and children close at hand and out of the burned area to prevent injuries.

Restrictions/Closures: 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. 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: The current TFR in place for air space over the Swan Lake Fire (9/9687 NOTAM) will lesson impacts to local aviation operators. This includes drones. If drones are flying in the area, the firefighting planes cannot fly.

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.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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