According to a fire update Sunday, the Swan Lake fire has grown to 25,161 acres with winds pushing the fire toward the east of Mystery Creek Road and southeast of Sterling.

"As the winds shifted throughout the afternoon, a few spot fires occurred over the control lines and were contained by ground resources working with helicopters dropping water," fire managers wrote. "The overall strategy is to slow fire progression on the eastern flank and push it towards the mountains to the east as the fire burns in thick black spruce stands that have not burned since the last wildfire in 1947."

Swan Lake fire managers issued a travel advisory for Sterling Highway, notifying motorists of reduced visibility from smoke and travel delays between milepost 58 and milepost 75.5. Motorists are asked to drive slowly and with headlights on.

Fire managers have also expanded the temporary flight restriction over the fire area, extending it to the Sterling Highway corridor to make way for water-dropping aircraft called  "scoopers." The aircraft arrived from Canada on Sunday and will gather water from Skilak Lake and Hidden Lake.

"Recreationists in these areas should remain alert and vigilant about staying away from the center of the lakes while these aircraft assist the fire crews as they work along the fire’s edge," the incident management team wrote.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced it has closed to support fire operations along the Sterling Highway, according to a Facebook post from refuge managers.

As of Sunday, the following recreation areas are closed to public access:

  • Bottenintnin Lake
  • Watson Lake Campground
  • Egumen Lake Trail
  • Petersen Lake Campground
  • Kelly Campground
  • Seven Lakes Trail
  • Skyline Trail
  • Jean Lake Campground

Information about the fire can be obtained by calling the Fire Information line at 208-391-3488, visiting the Kenai Peninsula Borough emergency response website or checking the fire incident information system.

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