We’re thankful that it’s about 20 cooler than it was just a couple of days ago here in Bear Valley, but the smoke from the Swan Lake fire burning on the Kenai Peninsula has blown back into Anchorage even thicker. The only benefit is gorgeous sunsets.
What we’ve been absolutely dreading. Late this afternoon in the heart of Anchorage a wildfire broke out near Elmore Road and MLK drive. We just set the hottest and driest June in Alaska history, so when I saw the column of smoke building rapidly it was time to prepare to evacuate. We only have one road leading into Bear Valley and the winds were blowing the fire in our direction. It’s one of the biggest fears in Anchorage, a fire that gets onto the Hillside.
The Anchorage Fire Dept. hit the fire hard and fast, and very quickly there were retardant drops by Forest Service aircraft and helicopters. They did an incredible job and had the fire 30% contained within 3 hours. Hats off to all those fighting it.
The view into Bear Valley this afternoon. It’s 70º and not a cloud in the sky, one of the summer day gems here in Alaska; except for the ever increasing smoke from the Swan Lake wildfire burning on the Kenai Peninsula. It gets trapped by the Chugach Mountains. We need a wind shift and a lot of rain.
Sunset last night at 11:35pm. The fires burning on the Kenai Peninsula have gotten bigger, up to 30,000 acres and the smoke gets worse by the day. The Sterling Highway, the only road down to Homer, is closed on and off as they fight the fire. People are having to wait 2-3 hours before a pilot car takes them through one direction at a time.
Here in Anchorage, the smoke is filling the bowl the city sits in and the Chugach Mountains are holding the smoke in. You wake up in the morning with a headache and terrible taste in your mouth. We need wind to push out the smoke and rain to help knock the fire down. It is giving us some amazing sunsets, though.
I still can’t make up my mind if this is the happiest day in Alaska, or the saddest. We had an early morning visitor in the backyard.