The Swan Lake Fire, as seen from the Mystery Hills, burns Wednesday, on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

The Swan Lake Fire, as seen from the Mystery Hills, burns Wednesday, on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Swan Lake Fire grows overnight

As of Tuesday night it had reached 3,665 acres in size

The Swan Lake Fire continues to burn in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Sterling, and as of Tuesday night it had reached 3,665 acres in size — an increase of 1,000 acres from the previous day. The fire was caused by lightning last Wednesday and is burning in a limited protection area within the refuge.

Division of Forestry Public Information Officer Sarah Saarloos said that the area where the fire is burning is dense with highly flammable black spruce and has not seen a natural fire since 1947. As a result, fire managers from the Alaska Division of Forestry are working with refuge personnel to actively monitor the fire while allowing the natural burn process to occur.

The fire is about 2.7 miles north of the Sterling Highway at its closest point, but Sarloos said that the fire has mostly spread away from the highway to the northeast and northwest and is not likely to threaten any critical infrastructure or populated areas. According to a Wednesday, June 12 update from the Division of Forestry, the area between the highway and the fire consists mostly of wetlands and sparse patches of fuel that will limit its spread. A type 3 incident management team from the Division of Forestry is developing plans to ensure the protection of communities and mitigate smoke and fire impacts to the Sterling Highway.

“If it does start growing towards the highway, we have operational resources ready to be deployed to keep the highway open,” Saarloos said.

A smoke advisory is still in effect for the Sterling Highway from Mile 65 to 75, and motorists are advised to slow down and use caution driving through the fire area. Due to the ongoing fire activity, several access routes within the refuge have been closed to the public: Mystery Creek Ranch Road, East Fork Moose River north of Watson Lake and the Enstar Pipeline right-of-way from the refuge boundary east of Sterling to the Chickaloon River. The closures will remain in effect through July 11, and anyone with questions regarding the closures can call the refuge at 907-262-7021.

For the latest information on the Swan Lake Fire and other wildfires on the peninsula, visit or

More in News

Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion 
The Kenai River can be seen from the Funny River Campground on Sunday, June 23, 2019, in Funny River, Alaska.
State seeks funding for Funny River boat launch

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is working to secure funding for… Continue reading

COVID-19 cases remain high in area

Every region of Alaska was considered to be at “intermediate” or “high”… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
The entrance to Soldotna Public Library is seen on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Soldotna library seeks to beef up reading programs

The Soldotna Public Library will use a $2,200 donation from the Soldotna… Continue reading

Characters from the "Little Mermaid" wave to the crowd from the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Soldotna Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Progress on parade

The Progress Days Parade was held Saturday in Soldotna.… Continue reading

Scaffolding is erected around the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, July 20, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Parishioners largely welcomed back to in-person church services

One serious point of contention during the coronavirus pandemic, amid many, has… Continue reading

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Court reports, July 25

The following dismissals were recently handed down in Kenai District Court: Dalton… Continue reading

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Police Reports, July 25, 2021

Information for this report was taken from publicly available law enforcement records… Continue reading

Clayton Holland stands in his office at the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
New superintendent discusses upcoming school year

Clayton Holland is ready to get to work. That’s what the new… Continue reading

South Peninsula Hospital registered nurse Anne Garay gives Jessica Entsminger her second COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, May 7, 2021, at a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Boathouse Pavillion on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. About 25 people received vaccines in the first 3.5 hours of the 4-hour clinic. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
As COVID cases increase, officials think we’re not yet at the fourth peak

Department of Health and Social Services officials said during a Thursday press… Continue reading

Most Read