Tuesday on the Kenai Peninsula saw lower temperatures and rising humidity that resulted in a relatively quiet day for the Swan Lake Fire. The high pressure system that has caused hot and dry conditions is being pushed away by marine winds coming from the southwest, and those winds will improve air quality in Cooper Landing and the areas to the southeast of the fire, which had been experiencing heavy smoke conditions over the last few weeks.
For real-time air quality updates, visit http://tools.airfire.org and click on the “Monitoring PM2.5” tab to find readings. For smoke forecasts for all Alaska wildfires, visit UAFSMOKE at http://smoke.alaska.edu.
While the intensity of the blaze has lessened, it is still actively burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge east and northeast of Sterling. According to a Wednesday update from the Northwest 13 Incident Management Team, the latest mapping of the fire puts it at 100,027 acres.
Areas within the fire’s perimeter are burning at varying intensities, and firefighters continue to work on extinguishing residual hot spots along the south and west edges.
Meanwhile the fire’s spread to the east has abated as it reaches more alpine and tundra vegetation that is resistant to burning. Firefighters have reduced the amount of potential fuels along the Skyline Trail and will be doing the same along the Resurrection Pass Trail.
Motorists should be aware of potential delays along the Sterling Highway due to construction, smoke conditions, and activity from fire personnel. For current road conditions, visit http://511.alaska.gov. A temporary flight restriction is in effect over the area, and pilots can confirm current restrictions at http://tfr.faa.gov.
In response to current extreme fire danger, all open fires are prohibited immediately, including campfires, until further notice, in Kenai Peninsula State Parks, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park and Chugach National Forest lands on the Kenai Peninsula. Use of cooking stoves and gas grills is allowed. In addition, Kenai Peninsula State Parks will allow the use of charcoal in contained cooking grills but these remain prohibited on other listed public lands.
Some facilities in the Skilak Lake recreation area remain closed. For the latest information on closures in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, call the Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 or visit http://kenai.fws.gov.
The Resurrection Pass Trail in the Chugach National Forest has also been partially closed. For the latest information on Chugach closures and restrictions visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/chugach/news-events.
For the latest information on the Swan Lake Fire, visit kpboem.com or call the incident management team at 208-391-3488.