The updated Swan Lake Fire map shows the fire, which is measured to be nearly 164,000 acres, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

The updated Swan Lake Fire map shows the fire, which is measured to be nearly 164,000 acres, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

Public lands reopened as crews make progress on Swan Lake Fire

The fire is measured to be about 163,686 acres and is 37% contained.

There was minimal fire activity on the Swan Lake Fire Sunday, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management Monday fire update.

The Swan Lake Fire is measured to be about 163,686 acres and is 37% contained, according to the update.

Sunday saw light winds and temperatures in the 60s, while crews continued to look for hot spots. On Monday, crews continued mop-up efforts and patrol control lines near Sterling, Fuller Lake, Resurrection Trail, the Sterling Highway and Skilak Lake.

Firefighters were also slated to cut down hazardous trees, repair dozer lines and reinforce the east flank of the fire. In Cooper Landing, firefighters will work on structure protection measures. A Burned Area Emergency Response Team has been deployed to assess the potential post-wildfire hazards that could arise in the area of the fire.

“After a fire, the first priority is emergency stabilization in order to prevent further damage to life, property or natural resources on public lands,” the update said.

More than $42.8 million has been spent to combat the fire, according to Monday’s National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report.

At 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the Northern Rockies Team 4 will begin to take over the Swan Lake Fire from the Great Basin Team.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks announced Monday that previously closed public lands would be open beginning 12:01 a.m., Tuesday.

A portion of the Upper Kenai River, which was previously closed to support firefighting operations, will reopen Tuesday. The Kenai River between the state boat launch at the Cooper Landing bridge and Jim’s Landing will reopen to public use with the exception of the continued closure of a channel on the south side of the river from approximately river mile 69.5 to river mile 71.5. The previous daytime limitation on this river use has also been removed, allowing for 24-hour public use.

The Chugach National Forest is opening the Russian River Campground, Russian Lakes Trail, Russian River Falls, Barber Cabin and the K’Beq Day Use Area for public use. This opening will also be effective Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is also opening up Jim’s Landing for day use of the boat launch, the overflow parking lot north of the Sterling Highway at the Visitor Contact Station and the Lower Skilak Boat Launch for boat launch access. Beyond Jim’s Landing the Kenai River remains closed to Skilak Lake for public safety and in support of firefighting efforts. Lower Skilak campground and day use facility remains closed to public use.

Skilak Lake Road from the west entrance at Mile 75.2 of Sterling Highway will be opened to allow access to the Lower Skilak boat launch but all lands off the road, trailheads — including Marsh Lake and day use facilities, such as Bottenintnin Lake — remain closed. All refuge lands that have been burned are closed to public access.

Caribou Lake Fire

The Caribou Lake Fire, which ignited about 25 miles north east of Homer, burned 870 acres and is now 100% contained. The fire will remain in monitor status and will be turned back over to the Alaska Division of Forestry.

The Caribou Lake Fire has cost $2.2 million to combat, according to Monday’s National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report.

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