Burn closure still in effect throughout Alaska
(Fairbanks, AK) – Despite a burn closure that is in effect for pretty much the entire state, Division of Forestry firefighters continue to chase down reports of campfires, debris burns and other activities currently prohibited due to the high fire danger that persists throughout Alaska.
There were 152 new fires reported in Alaska over the weekend and while lightning has been the cause for the majority of new fires, many human-caused fires are still being reported. On Saturday, for example, 17 of the 67 new fires reported to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center were started by humans.
The Division of Forestry reminds residents and visitors that a burn closure remains in effect on state, private and municipal lands throughout Alaska, with the exception of the North Slope. Burning is currently prohibited on the Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Tanana Valley, Copper River Valley and western Alaska. The state closure covers Game Management Units 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 and 25.
The state closure pertains to all open burning, including campfires, burn barrels, debris burning and charcoal grills, even in established fire rings or grills. Gas grills and backpacking or camps stoves that use fuel or compressed canisters that can be regulated and shut off are still permitted for use.
As of Monday morning, there were 186 active fires burning in the state. Given the high number of fires and the personnel assigned to those fires, the state’s firefighting resources are becoming very limited, forcing fire managers to prioritize resources. Responding to human-caused fires only exacerbates an already serious situation.
The burn closure will remain in effect until further notice and the public will be notified when it is lifted. It will take a substantial rainfall to ease the high fire danger conditions across the state and that has not happened yet.