September 25, 2019 – Homer Electric Association (HEA), in coordination with the current fire team managing the Swan Lake fire, the Alaska Department of Transportation and the Alaska State Troopers, are beginning to prepare to drop high voltage transmission lines that cross the Sterling Highway near Milepost 62.5 and 58.0. The operation is being done to mitigate the threat of these electric lines sagging or falling across the highway as a result of fire damage.
HEA has begun an initial assessment of the transmission lines damaged by this summer’s Swan Lake fire. The line that is being dropped is a 69 kV line that has been out of service for many years. It has sustained damage to poles and cross-arms and has several trees that have fallen on the line. Once these lines are removed, we do not expect the remaining lines to present a threat of falling on the highway. HEA will work with the Alaska Department of Transportation and the Alaska State Troopers to mitigate traffic delays while the work in being conducted Thursday, September 26, 2019 between 10:00 am and 3:00 p.m.
Plans are being developed, in conjunction with Kenai Wildlife Refuge personnel, to begin further assessment of fire related damage to the transmission lines along the north and south side of the Sterling Highway where the fire burned. Safety of personnel entering this area is of the utmost importance to HEA and refuge staff. We are keenly aware of the importance of this line and we will undertake a thorough assessment of the condition.
Over the course of the summer, HEA personnel have worked with several interagency incident management teams as they worked to mitigate impacts of the fire. As the suppression efforts transition to rehabilitation of the fires impact, HEA will continue to work with appropriate agencies to make sure any work in the area does not present a risk to the public or repair personnel nor add to damage to fire burned landscape.