High winds, low snow mean high fire danger for Mat-Su Valley

The Alaska Division of Forestry is advising residents in the Mat-Su Valley to use caution when

burning this weekend due to lack of snow and high winds in the Palmer and Wasilla areas.

High winds have blown away what little snow was on the ground, exposing grass and brush that could fuel a

wildfire, according to Fire Management Officer Norm McDonald with the Division of Forestry’s Mat-Su Area

Office. In addition, high winds forecast through the weekend and low relative humidities in the teens have

ramped up the fire danger, despite the fact it’s still the middle of winter and temperatures are in the teens.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, with gusts

up to 60 mph forecast through Friday night. Winds are expected to diminish late tonight in much of the area

but gusts up to 45 mph will continue for the Mat-Su Valley through Saturday and into Sunday.

The Central Mat-Su Fire Department responded to a brush fire on Thursday night that was the result of high

winds rekindling a debris pile burn that then spread to the homeowner’s yard, according to McDonald.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but it illustrated the possibility of a wildfire in the area, he said.

CONTACT: Norm McDonald, 907-863-2007, norman.mcdonald@alaska.gov

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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