A map of the Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula as of July 6, 2019. (Courtesy Northwest 13 Incident Management Team)

A map of the Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula as of July 6, 2019. (Courtesy Northwest 13 Incident Management Team)

Heat, dry conditions fuel Swan Lake Fire

The fire reached 92,657 acres Saturday

The Swan Lake Fire continued to burn on Saturday as temperatures on the peninsula climbed into the 90s. According to the latest update from the Northwest 13 Incident Management Team, fuel moisture has reached critically low levels due to a lack of rainfall on the peninsula and fuels normally resistant to fire are becoming more available to burn.

The east and northeast flanks of the fire have begun to move upslope and helicopters are providing water drops in the southeast corner of the fire to slow spread to the Upper Jean Lake area. A plan for fire containment is being developed for the Jean Lake area and along the Sterling Highway near Skyline Trail as fire continues to spread in that direction. Mop-up efforts along the southern edge of the fire are experiencing challenges as layers of duff dry out and allow areas to reignite. The northwest edge of the fire has smoldered since reaching muskeg and marshy vegetation.

The Swan Lake Fire is currently at 92,657 acres and is burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge between Sterling and Cooper Landing. The fire was caused by lightning on June 5 and is staffed by 408 personnel from various local, state and federal agencies.

As of Saturday, the Fuller Lakes Trail within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is closed as personnel have begun assessing the area for potential future operations.

An air quality monitoring station has been set up near Cooper Landing, and real-time reports are available 24 hours a day at http://tools.airfire.org.

Campfires are restricted to enclosed fire rings/grates within designated campgrounds and cabins in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park, Kenai Peninsula State Parks and Church National Forest.

The following areas of the refuge remain closed for camping and recreation: Watson Lake, Peterson Lake, Kelly Lake, Jean Lake, Mystery Creek Road, Skyline Trail, Seven Lakes Trail, Fuller Lakes Trail, Kelly Lake Cabin, Trapper Joe Cabin, Big Indian Cabin, East Fork Moose River and Bottenintin Lake. Contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820.

For the latest on the Swan Lake Fire, call the incident management team at 208-391-3488.

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