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Prevent Wildland Fires This Memorial Day Weekend

(Soldotna, AK)  Most wildfires in South Central Alaska this time of year are human-caused and, therefore, preventable.  Recreational activities over the Memorial Day holiday weekend often, regrettably, lead to new wildfires that are negligently started by escaped campfires, off-road vehicle usage, debris burning or yard clean up, target shooting, and other activities.

Weather conditions on the Kenai Peninsula, and throughout Alaska, are currently hot and dry, which makes the vegetation prone to ignition and rapid fire spread.  Howie Kent, Fire Management Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry said, “We’re asking everyone to be diligent with their outdoor activities in order to prevent wildfires.”

A burning permit suspension is in place on the Kenai Peninsula.  You may not light fires to burn brush or yard debris or burn in a barrel until the suspension is lifted.  Residents of Seward may call their fire department for information.  For burn permit information visit the web site at http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/.

Although cooking fires have not been banned at this point, Forestry discourages lighting any fire outdoors during dry, windy conditions.  Campfires must be small, in an established pit, and located in an area clear of vegetation and completely extinguished before leaving.  Only licensed fireworks displays are allowed in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.  Properly dispose of smoking materials.

Spring is a great time to work on projects around the home.  Let the Alaska FireWise brochure help guide you in wildland fire resistant landscaping and construction: go to the Forestry website listed above and click on Be FireWise.  For statewide fire information, visit the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center web at: http://fire.ak.blm.gov.  “Morning Highlights” lists individual fire information contacts.

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