Swan Lake Fire winding down - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Swan Lake Fire winding down

The Swan Lake Fire has burned 101,177 acres, but appears to be winding down. There was no forward movement in the fire on the Kenai Peninsula on Saturday. Firefighters made progress toward their suppression goals, and began mopping-up operations, while continuing the extinguishing of hot spots in the Upper Jean Lake area, according to the incident command center.

Crews began removing excess supplies and equipment from the fireline and heavy equipment is being used to remediate some of the bulldozed fire breaks that were made to stop the fire’s progress. The goal is to cover the bare areas with brush to prevent future erosion.

Today, crews are focusing on extinguishing hot spots within 300 feet of the burn’s borders . Hoses, pumps, trash, and equipment are being hauled off while aircraft continues to monitor the fire for hot spots. Minimal fire growth is expected.

Travelers on the Sterling Highway will still see smoke. For smoke forecasts, visit UAFSMOKE.

The Temporary Flight Restrictions include the western portion of the Chugach National Forest and the Sterling Highway corridor. The use of drones in the TFR and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are not permitted.

Watch firefighters create a firebreak at the Swan Lake Fire at this video:

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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.

Latest comments

  • Don’t get me started on the Swan Lake fire. And this is with no disrespect to people working hard in the field. My suspicion is that the powers-that-be had a clear opportunity to put the fire out on or about June 16, but decided to let it burn. The fire then exploded and the total area burned increased five or six fold. This resulted in gassing people on the Kenai and in Anchorage with smoke for WEEKS thereafter. The only reason the fire is abating now is that it has run out of things to burn. IMO, this was a management failure.

  • I disagree. I believe it was a management success. Accumulated dead and down fuel needs to burn from time to time to prevent even greater buildup that would be even greater threat to life and property.

  • A lightning-caused fire in wilderness, some of which hasnt burned in 100 years is called inevitable. That means it was not a matter of IF it would burn, but WHEN.

    Of course, if the refuge had conducted say 10 controlled burns of 10,000 acres each over the last 20+ years, we would be in a better place both in terms of habitat, animal populations, and smoke exposure to residents.

    In that sense JMARK, you are correct – This is a management failure.

    Imagine if this fire had the same 20 – 30 mph north winds that the Funny River fire had. That fire grew to essentially the size of the Swan fire, IN FIVE DAYS!

  • WHERE CAN I GET A JOB PAYING BIG BUCKS WATCHING A HUGE FIRE BURNING FOR A MONTH LIKE THAT?

  • GOD PUT THE FIRE OUT WITH THIS RAIN AND SAVED OUR SUMMER IN TIME FOR THE 2ND RED SALMON RUN IN KENAI ?

  • Did the rain really put the fire out? There are no recent updates to be found. We have all been dealing with the smoke and would like to know what the heck is happening. The firefighters have been great but what about the fire? Even potential visitors are asking but we know nothing.

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