Motorists travel through the Swan Lake fire burn on the Sterling Highway on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Motorists travel through the Swan Lake fire burn on the Sterling Highway on Sunday, May 22, 2022. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Prescribed fires along Sterling Highway to start this month

Areas most likely areas to experience smoke include Sterling Highway Mileposts 43, 45 and 53

Chugach National Forest fire management staff are preparing to begin prescribed fire activities in various areas around the Sterling Highway and near Hope, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced Friday. There will be a risk of smoke and low visibility on areas of the highway as a result.

The pile-burns are scheduled to begin this month, then continue into the early spring, according to a release from the Forest Service. Fires will be located near Quartz Creek, Crescent Creek, the Russian River Campgrounds and near Hope Point trailhead, with 200 acres planned for burn.

Burning the piles, produced by ongoing spruce beetle mitigation and other hazardous fuel reduction activities, is necessary to mitigate the risk of wildfire and the severity of any that do occur, the release said.

Steps will be taken to minimize the impact of smoke on the public; the release said personnel will monitor conditions and work with the National Weather Service to pick times “most favorable to smoke dispersion.” Despite that effort, smoke may be seen along the Sterling Highway, especially in the late evening and early morning.

The release said the most likely areas to experience smoke impact are Sterling Highway Mileposts 43, 45 and 53, located between the Seward Highway Junction and Cooper Landing, near Quartz Creek Road and near Russian River Campground Road respectively. In Hope, smoke may be seen near Porcupine Campground and the Hope Point trailhead.

For more information about pile burning and smoke, check @ChugachForestAK on Twitter.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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