Independence Day Weekend is a cause for celebration but it also can be the cause of wildland fires.
Alaska’s interagency wildfire officials would like to remind the public to be extremely cautious this holiday weekend with any activity that could ignite a wildfire.
While many areas of the state have received wide-spread precipitation in recent days, some areas in Alaska remain extremely dry. In addition, fuels dry out very quickly and it only takes one or two days of hot, dry weather to prime fuels.
The Fourth of July weekend traditionally results in new wildfire starts as a result of people partaking in recreational activities. If you have a campfire, please ensure that it is attended at all times and is completely extinguished before you leave. Also, use caution when burning and be sure to adhere to the Alaska Division of Forestry’s burn permit guidelines.
The use of fireworks is also a major concern over the Fourth of July weekend. Remember, the use of fireworks is prohibited on all federal lands and it is illegal to use fireworks on forested state lands, public or private. The definition of forested lands is “all land on which grass, brush, timber and other natural vegetative material grows.”
“State Statute Sec. 41.15.070. Disposal of burning materials. A person who, during the fire season, throws away lighted tobacco, cigar, cigarette, match, firecracker, or other burning material on forested lands, whether public or private, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
If you do plan to celebrate with fireworks, use them carefully and only where legal. Check with your local government body to see what the regulations are where you live.
Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held responsible for firefighting costs incurred by state or federal governments.
For burn permit information, call your local Division of Forestry office or visit the DOF website at http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/.
For statewide fire information, visit the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center website at http://fire.ak.blm.gov and http://akfireinfo.com.