Sun. Aug 25th, 2019

Swan Lake’s Infrastructure Jeopardized by Wildfire, Fire Officials Struggle

3 min read
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Fire officials are giving their most laborious efforts to save as much as they can. The main concerns are whether they will be able to stop the fire from spreading to infrastructure areas and residential homes. Click to find out more.

Raging Wildfire Swallows 13,000 acres in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Almost 13,000 acres in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are in serious danger from the wildfire spreading fast. The fire officials are doing everything in their power to prevent it from reaching the residential area and destroying its infrastructure.

In the meantime, a high amount of thick smoke from Swan Lake has seriously endangered the quality of air in the Kenai Peninsula this weekend.

This disaster started on June 6, at Swan Lake. The strike of lightning was the official cause, but it is still uncertain, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. So far, the damage has been done to nearly 13,000 acres, mostly grass and black spruce for now. This is five miles east of the Sterling community, as the center updated us.

During this weekend, the fire officials worked nonstop to make sure they built fire lines. Hopefully, these will prevent the main blaze from spreading into residential Sterling areas. There are ninety-four people currently working on this issue.

They also place most of their efforts into trying to protect a thermoelectric generator. It is located near the fire, to the east. The thermoelectric generator’s primary function is to send gas from the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage.

Rain Is Cooling Down the Area

The silver lining in this stressful situation is the fact that the weather conditions are helping the firefighters since it has been raining.

The Division of Forestry stated that the firefighters were trying to take advantage of the cooler weather but were afraid of the sudden drier air and warmer temperature. Nevertheless, they are doing everything in their power to fortify the line in the southern section of the fire, close to the pipeline corridor.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation decided to issue an air quality alert this Sunday. It involves areas of the Kenai Peninsula where Swan Lake’s smoke is trapped beneath low-level clouds. This could be a cause of foul air in the communities nearby.

The officials expect the wildfire smoke to spread in the northwest direction towards the Kenai Peninsula. It will impact Soldotna, Nikiski, Kenai, and Sterling communities the most. We don’t know how good air quality will be, but we expect it to vary between unhealthy and healthy. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation officials stated that it depended on proximity to the fire as well as on the wind flow, and at that point, they could not predict either of these factors.

The Alaska Division of Forestry aims to minimize the damage by allowing the fire to burn naturally, without jeopardizing wildlife and people. In that way, the fire can take its natural role and create diversity between tree age classes and vegetation types.

There hadn’t been a fire this big since 1947, the Division of Forestry stated.

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