Families near Swan Lake Fire get ready in case of evacuation
The Sterling Highway Swan Lake Fire: 163,714 acres, 37% contained due to fire activity and thick smoke from the Swan Lake Fire reducing visibility for drivers.
Meanwhile neighborhoods in Cooper Landing and Sterling east of Feuding Lane and east of Adkins Road are under a level one evacuation, known as "ready" mode, in case the fire moves closer.
Suzanne and Fred Launer have lived on Feuding Lane for almost three decades.
"It's a beautiful place to live in when there's no smoke," Suzanne said.
The couple said it's a peaceful area but most of this summer it's been filled with smoke and its taking a toll on their health.
"For us folks who are older, have trouble breathing, COPD — it's been miserable," Fred said. "When it's like this we definitely have to stay inside all day long."
On Tuesday, they were choosing which belongings they want to take if they have to evacuate. They have a go bag, their documents and things they can't replace, including Suzanne's mother's needlepoint that Suzanne holds dear.
This isn't the first time the Launers have dealt with a fire in their front yard. Just four years ago, the Card Street Fire burned around 9,000 acres forcing many evacuations on the Kenai. Fred stayed back to fight that fire, which stopped nearly 100 feet from their home.
"The fire came down the hill and stopped right where we stopped our watering, so that was a good thing, a good experience," said Fred.
However, the experience also left him with consequences.
"That's what took me down, COPD. So I would say to anybody, go ahead and leave. It's not worth it," said Fred.
The Launers are praying for rain, hoping they won't have to evacuate, but say they are prepared to leave.
"I've got my boat. We've got the river. If the boat doesn't start, I can jump in the river, if need be," said Fred. "But we have an egress plan and we're planning on staying behind."
"Unless I see actual flames. If we see flames, we're leaving," Suzanne said. "I'm sorry, babe, we gotta go."
It's a decision many may have to make if the fire comes any closer.
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