Portions of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge have reopened for recreation as activity from the Swan Lake Fire continues to be minimal.
The Hidden Creek Trail, Skilak Lookout Trail, Bear Mountain Trail, Upper Ohmer Cabin and Watson Lake Campground have been reopened as of Thursday, according to a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Skilak Lake Road, Bottenintin Lake day use area and the boat launches at Upper Skilak, Lower Skilak and Jim’s Landing have also been reopened. All other areas including campgrounds, trails and cabins within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area remain closed.
Access routes to reopened facilities pass through burned areas, and some facilities are close to burned habitats. Fire-weakened trees can fall without warning, and deep ash pits are capable of holding heat that could cause severe burns. All burned lands in the refuge remain closed, and people should use caution around the areas that have been reopened.
Windy conditions on Wednesday tested the containment lines around the perimeter of the Swan Lake Fire, but those lines held successfully with no additional growth according to the latest update from the Alaska Type 3 Management Team.
The fire is currently at 167,164 acres and is considered 81% contained. There are 102 personnel managing the fire, which, to date, has cost $47.9 million dollars to manage, according to the latest situation report from the National Interagency Coordination Center’s Incident Management Situation Report.
A U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has deployed to the Resurrection Trail to assess any potential post-wildfire hazards that could arise in the area. The first priority for the BAER team will be emergency stabilization in order to prevent further damage to life, property or natural resources on public lands. The team will also be rehabilitating lands that are unlikely to recover naturally from fire damage.
The BAER team will complete their assessment in the Trout Lake area once weather conditions allow them to be flown in by helicopter.
For the latest information on the fire, visit kpboem.com or call 208-391-3488.