Drivers, businesses feel the effects of Swan Lake Fire
George Min of Boston is on his first visit to Alaska and has spent part of it in traffic jams.
Min and his family found themselves stuck in traffic at Mile 58 of the Sterling Highway, just past Cooper Landing Thursday morning.
No choice since traffic got reduced to one lane to Mile Post 75 because of the Swan Lake Fire. Most travelers knew of the delay — but not Min.
"I never follow the news," he said. "We're traveling to Sterling, to Kenai, and we're just on the way here. We have no idea."
Min was fortunate, as he continued on his journey about twenty minutes after he stopped. Some people over the last couple of days said they had to wait for hours.
Drivers seemed to find the travel a little easier Thursday afternoon, after both lanes of the Sterling Highway reopened. However, lanes could close again depending on the smoke and fire.
The smoke also poses problems for several Cooper Landing businesses, including Kenai River Drifter's Lodge, which offers rafting and fishing trips. It normally has a great view of the Kenai River and mountains, but the smoke has obscured that view.
Bib Rima, the owner of the lodge, says that's led to some cancellations, but the diminished view is not the only reason.
"Some people have canceled their rafting, which we understand" said Bob Rima. "People have asthma, people have stuff like medical things that the smoke could not help them out too much."
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