Trinity Hotshots battling the Swan Lake Fire hold the line during burnout operations along the Sterling Highway in Alaska on Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo courtesy Great Basin Incident Management Team)

Trinity Hotshots battling the Swan Lake Fire hold the line during burnout operations along the Sterling Highway in Alaska on Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo courtesy Great Basin Incident Management Team)

Cooper Landing remains in “SET” status, Sterling Highway delays likely

The Swan Lake Fire has grown by about 8,000 acres since Monday

Cooper Landing remains in “SET” status today, and travel delays remain likely on the Sterling Highway due to the continued activity of the Swan Lake Fire.

According to the latest update from the Great Basin Incident Management Team, firefighters assigned to structure protection spent Monday night at the community center in Cooper Landing to be available for rapid response after the Swan Lake Fire reached the Bean Creek and Slaughter Ridge area just a few miles north of Cooper Landing.

Firefighters will remain in the area today to complete their assessment of structures in the community and to complete the contingency line in the Slaughter Ridge area. Planned contingencies and resources are in position if the fire moves towards Cooper Landing. Fire line is also being constructed towards Surprise Creek in order to limit the fire’s growth towards the Russian River.

Public information officer Larry Bickle said Tuesday morning that the fire is currently at 158,042 acres. Bickle said that a fly-by of the fire’s perimeter near Cooper Landing Tuesday morning showed minimal activity.

Because Cooper Landing remains in “SET” status today, all residents should be prepared to evacuate if the situation warrants. The “SET” status is not a notice to evacuate, anyone who is uncomfortable staying in their home or anyone who needs additional time should consider leaving before an evacuation notice.

The north winds on Monday allowed firefighters to successfully conduct burnout operations along the highway. During these operations, hotshot crews used drip torches to methodically light unburned fuel on the south side of the highway between mile markers 63.5 and 66.5.

This operation helped to secure the highway and further protect the Hidden Lake Campground. The fire perimeter in this area will be assessed today, and night operations patrolling the Sterling Highway and Skilak Road will continue.

The Sterling neighborhoods east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road remain in a “READY” status. This status is not a notice to leave, but it does mean that residents in the area should be ready for potential evacuation.

Along the fire’s southwest corner, crews will be mopping up within 30 to 50 feet of the fire line in order to prevent reignition. Structure protection crews at Kelly Lake, Engineer Lake, Upper Ohmer cabins, The Skilak Guard Station and the Hidden Lake Pavilion remain in place.

Dry weather conditions with above average temperatures will continue today. Winds from the north to northwest will continue to transport smoke to the south and southeast. The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with no precipitation expected. A high pressure system will enter the area over the weekend, bringing an increase in winds as well as an increased chance of precipitation.

The latest information about the fire can be found at or on Facebook at KPB alerts, and a call center is available at 907-262-INFO (4636).

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