The Wildfire Log: AK DOF’s Swan Lake Fire

UPDATE 1 – June 24, 2019 – Monday

Credit: BLM Fire Service

Additional Type 1 and Type 2 crews are bolstering efforts to establish control lines on the eastern edge of the Swan Lake Fire.

Type 1 and 2 crews en route to establish control lines on the East flank of fire.  Credit: AK Fire PIOs


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.

CALL 9-1-1 OR 800-237-3633 |  Report a Wildfire

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.

You will be seeing these signs on the Sterling Highway. | Credit: BLM AK Fire Service


  • 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.

AK Governor Mike Dunleavy thanks all first responders and firefighters for protecting homes,, businesses, and residents.    Courtesy: Gov Dunleavy


Transmission Lines

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.

Credit: NWS Anchorage

Recreation Areas

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:

Canadian Air Scoopers. | Credit: Swan Lake Fire PIO

Crews continue prep work on June 18, 2019.   Credit: BLM AK Fire Service

Crews continue firing operations to secure line on June 19, 2019. Credit: AK Forestry.

Heavy fog and smoke caused delays on the Sterling Highway on June 21.

A trail of traffic backs up on the Sterling Hwy due to a thick layer of smoke fog hangs in the air.                   Credit: AK Fire PIOs

Damage Assessments

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