Mat-Su grass fires signal high fire danger due to lack of snow

The Alaska Division of Forestry responded to two small grass fires in the Mat-Su Valley on

Tuesday, a sign that fire danger in Southcentral Alaska is still high due to the lack of snow and dry conditions.

The first fire was reported off Bogard Road in Wasilla at around 7 a.m. and was the result of a structure fire

that spread to frost-killed grass surrounding the structure, according to Fire Management Officer Norm

McDonald in Palmer. The fire burned about one acre before firefighters from the Central Fire Department in

Wasilla and DOF were able to extinguish the blaze.

The second fire occurred at around 11 a.m. and was caused by an escaped burn barrel fire that spread to grass

and burned about one-half acre before firefighters contained it.

In both instances, responding fire departments requested the assistance of DOF personnel to help control the

escaped fires.

Recent warm temperatures have melted what little snow has fallen in Southcentral Alaska this winter and

conditions are very dry and volatile. Primary fuels such as grass, leaves and brush can promote fast-moving

fires that are extremely difficult to control, especially if there is any wind.

Given the dry conditions, the Division of Forestry is asking the public to hold off with open burning and/or

using burn barrels until there is significant snow cover or a substantial wetting rain. Anyone who causes an

escaped wildfire can be held accountable for the costs of suppressing the fire.

To report a wildfire, call 911.

About Alaska Division of Forestry

Alaska Division of Forestry website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/ Mission: The Alaska Division of Forestry proudly serves Alaskans through forest management and wildland fire protection. The Wildland Fire and Aviation Program provides safe, cost-effective and efficient fire protection services and related fire and aviation management activities to protect human life and values on State, private and municipal lands. The wildland fire program cooperates with other wildland fire agencies on a statewide, interagency basis.

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