Hot, dry weather predicted for Southcentral Alaska in the coming days is expected to aggravate wildfires around the state, fire officials say.
Forecasters say a high pressure system is likely to move in over the Kenai Peninsula this week, bringing higher temperatures to the region where the 40,000 acre Swan Lake fire continues to burn.
“Wildland fires burning throughout Alaska are expected to become more active and put up more smoke,” according to an update from the BLM Alaska Fire Service.
Smoke from the Swan Lake fire, which is about 5 miles northwest of Sterling, has been inhibiting visibility for drivers for days, briefly shutting down a portion of the Sterling Highway Wednesday morning.
The highway reopened to pilot car escorts around 10:30 a.m., but Alaska State Troopers asked drivers not to stop on the highway unless fire crews or troopers tell them to.
A dense smoke advisory is in effect for the peninsula until Thursday evening and could last through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were expected to carry the smoke southeastward toward Seward, forecasters said.
Check 511.alaska.gov or call 511 for road conditions.