Homer Electric Association is working to restore the transmission line damaged by the Swan Lake Fire.
The transmission line delivers electricity from the Bradley Lake Dam near Homer to electric utilities north of the Kenai Peninsula.
With the help of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and fire personnel, HEA has begun initial work to clear fire damaged trees and debris around the transmission line, according to a Wednesday HEA press release.
Damage extends from Sterling to the Quartz Creek Substation near Cooper Landing.
A preliminary assessment of the damaged area shows fire damage to structures supporting the line in wetlands along the north side of the Sterling Highway Watson Lake to Milepost 62.5, near Lower Jean Lake.
The segment of the line along the south side of the Sterling Highway from Milepost 62.5 to 58 are in areas of heavy fire-damaged timber and steep terrain.
On Tuesday, crews began using specialized tools and mechanical equipment to open access along this portion of the line.
“Recognizing the importance of this line to electric consumers throughout the “Railbelt” from Seward to Fairbanks, HEA has begun the next phase for returning the line to service,” the Wednesday release said. “The initial phase, now completed, involved several assessments via helicopter, and, where possible, road observations. This approach was used due to ongoing risk of hazards such as falling trees and ash pits in the immediate area of the line (right of way).”
HEA, along with a team of consultants “with extensive experience in evaluating fire impacted transmission line facilities,” will undertake a more thorough on-the-ground assessment of damage to the transmission line poles, support structures, insulators and power lines along the almost 15 miles of fire impacted line.
The next phase will help gather information about the nature and extent of the damage, which will be used to develop site-specific work plans for repair.
It is anticipated this work will continue into early November, pending conditions on the ground.