UPDATE 1 – June 24, 2019 – Monday
A wildfire is burning on the Kenai Peninsula, about 6 miles northeast of Sterling, Alaska. The fire is also said to be inside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
About 32,300 acres of timber and short grass has already been destroyed.
The fire was ignited by lightning on June 5th, around 1852 hours AKDT or 1952 hours PDT.
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Fire crews have gained a 9% containment status.
Fire behavior has been reported as active with flanking, group torching and short-range spotting. The fire is mostly being carried by Black Spruce, while minimum activity has been spotted in hardwood fuels.
There is a 40-50% mortality in Spruce stands.
TRAFFIC ALERT | Sterling Highway has very low visibility and poor air quality.
- Personnel: Total of 379 fire personnel.
- Assets: 11 crews including Yukon and 5 NW Hotshots (Winema Hotshots, Wolf Creek Hotshots and Lakeview Hotshots), 8 engines and 5 helicopters.
- Command: AK IMT.
- Incident Cooperators: Kenai Pen OEM, AK DOT, AK State Troopers, Homer Electric Association, Granite Construction, BLM AK Fire Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
- Air Resources: Aircraft are dipping out of Silak and Hidden Lakes.
Homer Electric Association has de-energized a 115,000 volt transmission line to help reduce potential starts, as temps rise and dry conditions continue in the fire prone area.
FIRE FACT | Wildfires can create their own Fire Weather.
Heavy smoke is pouring over the Sterling Highway. Though the roadway is open, many recreations areas are now closed along the highway.
The Swan Lake Fire in Images:
The fire is currently threatening homes, private properties, the community of Sterling and the highway, utility right-of-ways and infrastructure, along with natural gas pipeline and infrastructure. Additionally, it is causing a threat against shelter cabins and a Moose Research Center.
There has been a total cost-to-date of $3.4 Million for fire suppression and containment expenses.
(c) 2019 NW Fire Blog – Updated @ 2015 hours PDT