A new management team has taken control of the Swan Lake Fire as firefighting efforts gradually transition to local resources.
As of Monday night, the Alaska Type 3 Organization had assumed command from the Northern Rockies Type 2 Team. Public Information Officer Emery Johnson said that the goal of the Type 3 team is to begin drawing down firefighting efforts so that the local Kenai-Kodiak Area of the Division of Forestry can eventually be in charge of monitoring and containment.
“We’re making sure we’re on a good glide path for the winter,” Johnson said. “We’re tying up loose ends and making sure the local resources are equipped and ready to take over.”
Johnson said that the Type 3 team is likely to be in command of the fire for the next week to 10 days.
The fire is currently 167,164 acres in size and is 81% contained, according to the latest update from the Type 3 team. Johnson said that containment will be at 100% when the entire perimeter has containment lines that have been established and mopped up to at least 100 feet. Although the goal is 100% containment, Johnson said that fuel types and topography in some areas north of Cooper Landing and along the southeast perimeter of the fire have made full containment difficult.
Fire management may continue into winter without 100% containment, but Johnson said that the Type 3 team will make sure the entire perimeter is controlled, if not contained, before transitioning control to the local Division of Forestry.
On Monday, crews focused on removing hazard trees and repairing containment lines along Skilak Lake Road. Crews also installed erosion control systems on dozer-constructed containment lines along Skilak Lake Road.
North of Cooper Landing, patrols monitored fire activity to protect cabins on the Resurrection Trail. Crews continue to monitor fire activity north and south of the Kenai River to find and extinguish residual hot spots.
In Cooper Landing, two engine crews continued reducing fuels around structures as well as suppression repair and cleanup efforts.
On Tuesday, crews focused their suppression repair operations on the Seven Lakes Trail. Meanwhile, cleanup along Skilak Lake Road continues. Hose lays along the south perimeter of the fire are being back hauled as operations wind down.
The last closed section of the Upper Kenai River has reopened as of Saturday. Any burned lands remain closed to public use, even if they fall within 200 feet of the river’s edge. All recreation facilities along the Skilak Lake Road, including campgrounds, trails and day-use areas remain closed. Information about closures is available at www.kenai.fws.gov.
For the latest information on the fire, visit www.kpb.oem.com.