Loon Lake Fire: Down, but not out

Jun 15, 2021

 

The track of a firefighting helicopter working the Loon Lake Fire Tuesday afternoon.
Credit KBBI Screengrab

   Mop-up operations have begun on the Loon Lake Fire, which has burned approximately 102 acres. Fire-fighters mobilized two additional crews on Monday to cut a fire line around part of the fire and to lay a fire hose around its perimeter.

Containment remains at 15 percent as of noon today (Tue)  and there are 81 personnel assigned to the fire, including three crews. While there was very little smoke visible from the fire yesterday, hotter and drier conditions today are testing containment lines as crews continue work to increase the depth along the perimeter.

Located approximately 10 miles northeast of the community of Sterling and the Sterling Highway, the fire is burning in remote wilderness within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, approximately four miles west of where the 2019 Swan Lake fire was started by lightning. The Loon Lake Fire does not currently pose any threat to the community of Sterling or any other values at risk.

The north side of the fire is boxed in by Swan Lake and crews are working to secure containment line on the south side of the fire. An additional helicopter arrived this morning and will provide critical logistical support by shuttling in key supplies to firefighters, including hose, pumps, fuel and the fresh food boxes.

One of the crews will remain engaged on the fireline today but will be available for initial attack on any new, higher priority fires on the Kenai Peninsula. With high temperatures and low humidities today, surface fuels are critically dry in many areas which could lead to rapid rates of fire spread on new starts.

A burn suspension is in effect for the Kenai Peninsula and there is a three-mile Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area to prevent aircraft and drones from interfering with crew and supply shuttles, recon and bucket work.