Swan Lake Fire prompts closure of Sterling Highway

Sterling Highway smoke from Swan Lake Fire source Division of Forestry

ANCHORAGE, (KTUU) - The Department of Transportation says pilot cars are taking drivers through the area of milepost 58 to 79 because of dangerous conditions along the Sterling Highway.

DOT says the portion of the highway isn't technically open, that's why pilot cars are being used to get drivers from point A to B.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough announced Friday morning on their Facebook page, a section of the Sterling Highway is closed because of low visibility from the smoke of the Swan Lake Fire.

Sam Harrel with the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team says pilot cars are being put in place. Harrel says the marine layer is lifting, leading to the fog. He advises motorists to be patient and drive with care.

Kristi Wolcot, a driver in the area called Channel 2 Friday morning to report the air appears to be so dusty you cannot see other cars in front of you and recommended other drivers turn on their headlights, which would also turn on their taillights, so they will be easier to see. Wolcot said it took her a couple of hours to get through the area Friday morning.

The Alaska Division of Forestry said on their Facebook a minor vehicle crash, possibly due to low visibility, caused some back up on the highway.

DOT says the portion of the highway may be open and closed intermittently throughout the day Friday, with a potential detour in place. However the road used for detours is a gravel road which Harrel said is not ideal for people who are unfamiliar with the area.

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