Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend without starting a wildfire

Fairbanks, Alaska (KINY) – With warmer weather finally here and Alaska heading into its first summer vacation, more people are heading outdoors for spring cleaning, recreation, or sightseeing in the beautiful state. The best way to keep Alaska beautiful is to make sure you don’t start a forest fire.

People who live and play on fire-prone lands assume a certain level of risk and responsibility.

Fires that threaten individuals, communities, and homes are aggressively fought, but fire and public safety is always the top priority.

Alaska is huge, and fire managers use different strategies to protect people and homes.

However, natural fires in the boreal forest are necessary for habitat and wildlife diversity.

Situations may arise where fires are used to reduce the risk of large forest fires during dry summers and to prevent unnatural aging of the forest.

“We encourage everyone to enjoy all of the recreational opportunities that Alaska has to offer, and be careful about any activity that could start a wildfire, whether it’s a barbecue or a campfire,” said Kent Slaughter, BLM Alaska Fire Service manager, one of three wildfire protection agencies that provide suppression services in Alaska. “Also, keep an engine’s hot exhaust system away from dry, dead vegetation, such as tall patches of grass or a pile of leaves that could start a fire.”

Although the spring green-up is a little late in some parts of Alaska, the lack of rain has left the surface dead fuels very dry and susceptible to ignition.

Despite multiple burn permit suspensions, the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection continues to respond to numerous burn activities that have resulted in multiple wildfires.

As of Thursday, 70 of the 72 fires started so far this year have been caused by humans.

Fortunately, with the exception of the Barley Way fire near Delta Junction, most were quickly extinguished.

That could change as summer progresses and deeper layers of soil dry out.

Burn permits are required on all state, municipal, and private lands that do not have a local government burn permit program in effect.

Using barrels for burning, burning small piles of woody debris, or burning turf requires a small-scale burn permit from April 1 to August 1. 31 in Alaska.

Burn permits are free and available at local Forestry and Fire Protection offices, many local fire departments, and online to print at https://forestry.alaska.gov/burn.

They also provide helpful instructions on how to carry out safe burning practices.

“We know that people will be out camping, hiking, boating, barbecuing and enjoying other forms of recreation over the holiday weekend. We just ask that you be extremely careful when it comes to the possibility of starting wildfires and make sure you have burn permits for any debris piles or turf burns,” said Norm McDonald, Fire and Aviation Chief of the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection. .

Campfires 3 feet or less in diameter with flames less than 2 feet high do not require a burn permit and are permitted during the burn permit suspension. Fire managers always recommend caution when building a campfire in hot, dry, and windy conditions.

Some wildfires started from abandoned campfires that people thought were sufficiently extinguished but, with a bit of wind, they sprang back to life and spread rapidly.

The consequences of a forest fire in a populated area with high values ​​at risk are substantial.

Wildfires can not only endanger the public and emergency personnel, but can also affect the livelihoods of community members.

Here are some tips to make sure you don’t start a wildfire when you’re outside, especially while enjoying your Alaskan adventure:

• Never leave any fire, even those in barrels to burn, unattended, even for a short time. It only takes seconds for a fire to get out of control if you are not prepared.

• Clear areas around campfires down to mineral soil to reduce chances of escape.

• Keep campfires small and manageable.

• Have tools and water on hand to prevent the fire from escaping.

• Make sure campfires are completely out before leaving by repeatedly drowning them with water and stirring embers and ashes until they are cool to the touch.

• Dispose of barbecue ashes or charcoal in a fireproof container; do not throw them into the forest.

Call 911 immediately if there is a wildfire emergency.

It is also essential to be aware of the risk of wildfires in your area and take steps to prepare for them.

This may include creating defensible space around your property, having an evacuation plan, and having an emergency supply of food and water on hand.

People can use Firewise principles to reduce the risk of fire in their homes, properties, and communities.

Remember, you are responsible for any fire you start.

For statewide fire information, call (907) 356-5511 or visit the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website at https://fire.ak.blm.gov or visit http://akfireinfo. com.