Weather, road construction and fishing limit changes are all contributing to traffic woes near Sterling.

Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire lowers visibility for drivers.

The fire has burned nearly 13,000 acres since a lightning strike started it June 5, but the Alaska Division of Forestry says the outlook is positive.

"We haven't seen that much growth with the Swan Lake Fire because of the cloud cover, and we also had some light rain the last two days," said division spokesperson Sarah Saarloos.

Firefighting efforts are now focused on the blaze’s southwest corner.

"You have a large area of spruce that haven't burned since 1947 – that’s the last burn scar that we have in there," Saarloos said.

Fire is dangerous, but it has benefits.

"After that fact, it's going to turn into an environment with a lot of diversity of plants, different types of young tress, and that's good for a whole variety of critters," Saarloos said.

On top of the smoke from the Swan Lake Fire, road construction is making travel more difficult along the Sterling Highway.

Work continues to widen the road from mileposts 58 - 79.

The good news is the work will be done at night and during the early morning hours.

Drivers can expect delays on the Sterling highway from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Adding to driving delays are higher bag limits for red salmon. Starting Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., anglers can catch nine fish per day on Russian River.

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