(Photo courtesy of Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4, Rick Connell, I.C./Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

(Photo courtesy of Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4, Rick Connell, I.C./Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)

Swan Lake Fire grows slightly, community meeting scheduled

The Swan Lake Fire, located five miles northeast of Sterling is nearly 50% contained, and has grown slightly, to 165,085 acres, according to the Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4, Monday update.

The team now has 286 personnel working to combat the fire, including four crews, 13 engines and three helicopters. The estimated cost of the fire to date is over $45 million, according to Monday’s National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report.

A community meeting is scheduled in Cooper Landing, starting at 6 p.m., at Cooper Landing School. Fire operations personnel and local agency representatives will be in attendance to provide updates regarding the fire, the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team’s update said.

The fire saw some growth due to acreage of previously unburned interior islands, the update said. There has been no increase to the fire along the perimeter.

On the southwestern flank of the fire, firefighters continue working on pockets of heat, and cutting down fire weakened trees near Lower Skilak Boat Launch Road. The south side of the fire was not staffed, according to the update, but monitoring will occur in the area from the air when it’s possible to fly.

On the southeastern side of the fire, crews are working on hot spots near the Fuller Lakes Trail, the update said, and structure protection crews are working in the Russian Gap Road area where it was dry enough to do so.

Rain on Sunday afternoon slowed work in some areas where it became too wet to move equipment and crews around, however, fire behavior remained low due to the rain and humidity, the update said.

Fire spread is expected to be low Monday, but heavy fuels and ground duff layers are still dry and are holding heat, the update said. Rain showers are forecasted to end, following a ridge of high pressure build up that will result in clear skies in some areas, the update said.

A section of Skilak Road has been reopened to the Lower Skilak area and boat launch, and visitors traveling in the area should be aware of potentially hazardous conditions that exist in burned areas and may be difficult to see, including weakened standing trees and hot ash pits, the update said. Pets and children should be supervised.

Several public lands remained closed.

The Kenai River remains closed beyond Jim’s Landing to Skilak Lake. The Lower Skilak campground remains closed. All the lands off the Lower Skilak boat access road, including Marsh Lake Trailhead remain closed. All refuge lands that have been burned are closed to public access.

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