Areas burned by the Swan Lake Fire can be seen from Vista Trail at Upper Skilak Campground on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Areas burned by the Swan Lake Fire can be seen from Vista Trail at Upper Skilak Campground on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Areas of Chugach forest reopen after fire

The Forest Service is urging hikers to use extreme caution when exploring burned areas of the forest

Areas of the Chugach National Forest impacted by the Swan Lake Fire are now open, an Oct. 9 press release from the U.S. Forest Service said.

The south portion of Resurrection Pass Trail, West Swan Lake, Swan Lake, Juneau Lake, Romig and Trout Lake cabins and surrounding areas, including all cabins and trails, are now open in the Seward Ranger District.

The Forest Service is urging hikers to use extreme caution when exploring burned areas of the forest. “While efforts have been made to remove trees of concern and clear the trail and cabin areas, hazards within the burned area may include fire-weakened standing trees which can fall without warning and deep ash pits holding residual heat capable of causing severe burns.”

The fire is expected to be completely contained by Dec. 31. Deep pockets of duff and heavy fuels will continue to smolder for weeks and possibly months. The Swan Lake Fire is estimated to be 167,164 acres, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report. A crew of eight and an engine are managing the fire. The cost of the fire has reached more than $49 million to date.

Emergency responders and volunteers who managed the fires burning on the Kenai Peninsula this summer were commended through a resolution at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

“The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly commends the work of fire managers, incident management teams, support personnel, and all of the volunteers that contributed towards the successful suppression and containment of fires throughout the Kenai Peninsula,” the resolution said. “The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly makes special recognition of all of the firefighters, both locally and from other regions, that were on the front line working in extreme conditions to keep the residents of the Kenai Peninsula safe.”

A copy of the resolution will be sent to all responding agencies that served the Kenai Peninsula during this season.

The Swan Lake Fire is one of many fires that have burned 2,577,028 acres in Alaska this summer.

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