Firefighters battle through long hours, little sleep to contain Swan Lake Fire
They literally feel the heat from their jobs.
Firefighters from Soldotna-based Yukon Fire Crew are helping to contain the Swan Lake Fire near Sterling.
"We're doing pretty good, we’re feeling good. You know we're pumped to be out here, and yeah, everybody's doing well," said Yukon Fire Crew Superintendent Robert Lacy.
Firefighters use what is known as "cold trailing" to help battle the flames.
"It's a very slow but methodical process," said Bud Sexton, public information officer for Swan Lake Fire's incident management team. "But it's one of the ways we make sure when we call an area out it's because the crews have taken the time and the effort to be able to make sure it is."
With this method, firefighters check for hot spots by using the back of their hand.
"Obviously if there's a hot spot, they're going to work through it, but cold trailing is making sure it's completely out," Sexton said.
Crews work 16-hour shifts, 14 days straight which can be challenging. Lacy says his crew initially started in a wet area, and they had a difficult time keeping their feet dry as they worked through the fire.
The long days are also tiring, and sleep becomes a luxury. The firefighters often try to sleep where they can.
"Somewhere off the fire line, we usually have a place where you can set up camp, that's how we've been doing it here since we've been here," Lacy said.
The incident management team expects to have the fire contained by August 31. Members of the Yukon Fire Crew are among the 487 people working to contain the Swan Lake Fire.
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